I’ve been creating back story for the characters in my newest story. It’s so much fun to imagine why they are the way they are. Who were their parents? What are their first, middle and last names? Who were they in high school? What do they represent to each other? Brainstorming. Character birthing. It’s the beginning of it all.
It all started one day while I was scrubbing the shower tiles in November. Don’t laugh, a girl’s gotta have a clean bathroom. Besides, I do my best thinking while I clean. I had just finished the Backspace Conference and faced a ton of edits to my novel, The Curse of the Radcliffe Rubies, before I could send out more agent submissions. I was working diligently on the edits, but feeling a bit beaten down.
Around that time, I’d come across a short story contest and dismissed it because I didn’t write short stories. But I’m not the kind of person to say never. So as I finished up the tub and grabbed the toilet brush, I decided to write a short story. But what was my premise? Who were my characters? What story could I tell in 1500 words or less?
A challenge to say the least. But I decided to give it a shot and began crafting my concept. Within a few weeks, 1400 words were drafted and edited. The word count restriction made me weigh the value of each word. My writing was tighter than ever before with zero room to meander. And my first short story was written. Fifty or so edits later, it was polished and ready for submission in November 2009.
The results of the contest were available in February 2010. I didn’t win. But I did come away with a prize. My characters wouldn’t stop talking and living. They demanded their own novel, which I began to draft in my spare time. And now I get to daydream about their lives and how they became who they are.