Story Glimmers

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

A writer needs time to gather a story. To let the glimmers spark out of that mysterious dark center where stories are sometimes born. But there are times when the glimmers sparkle but are as elusive as a sunbeam. You see it but you can’t really grab it. Sometimes the story glimmers tease you and entice you down the wrong story road. And yes, sometimes a writer can’t just sit back and wait for the glimmers to settle in her head to light the way to a story. A writer has to grab a flashlight and go hunting in the dark for that story.
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I’m definitely at the glimmer stage with my next story. And about ready to grab that flashlight and venture out into the dark unknown. The glimmers are there, but they aren’t very bright. I see a Shaker sister keeping a journal. Perhaps she’s sitting at a desk like the one above and dipping her pen into a pot of ink before carefully forming the letters of her words. She doesn’t want to make a mistake because she’s writing the history of her sisters and brothers. I see another character, a young sister, who is enchanted by the possibilities of life. But I don’t yet know when. Or what. Maybe I can’t know what until I know when. I think it’s time to read some history. That always helps me focus on an idea or even discover an idea.
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And yet I stall. I have to do these other things. I have a deadline to come up with discussion questions for Angel Sister. I have questions to answer for someone to do an article. I need to update my events calendar. I need to copy edit Angels at the Crossroads so I can get copies with the new cover. I need to do this blog entry. All these things are writing related. If I’m doing them, I’m surely working. Surely writing.
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But the truth is, I’m not. Those things are important and need doing. The same as the clothes have to be washed and the meals cooked. My mom has to be taken care of and the grandkids visited. The deck needed a second coat before winter sets in. (And I got that mostly done this afternoon and am paying the price with sore muscles and blisters and too much sun.) But I’m not writing. I have to do all those other things, but I want to be writing. I want to be chasing down those story glimmers. And yet I stall.
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It can be a fearsome thing to write that first word. Will it work? Will the story magic happen again? I’ve done it many times. I’m confident the words will come. The story will be there if the characters are there. It is time to grab my flashlight and pursue those characters.
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I got the proposed cover for The Blessed, my Shaker novel that will be out next July. I’ll post it here soon. And I also got those Blue Monday candy bars so I’ll be mailing out the packages to my birthday celebration giveaway winners next week. No mail on Monday. Columbus Day. But Sunday has an interesting date. 10-10-10. Hope you have a day of perfect tens.