Thursday, April 19, 2012

Letting Your Stories Choose You

As many of you know, I have been searching for a new house for the family for the past few weeks.  I've seen so many, the rooms and features have become blurred in my mind.  And then, this week, we found it.  The most perfect place for so many reasons, it was a glorious bloom in a sea of fertilizer.  Seriously.  What people think constitutes "a great family home built for entertaining" is truly scary.  Anyway.

We had two other places we were considering and those close to me kept telling me I had to make a choice.  But, over the drama of having to move in the first place, I made a decision:  I was going to treat this dilemma exactly the way I treated my writing.  In other words, I let the house choose us.

Everyone but my Mum and hubs thought I was crazy.  I heard it all.  If I didn't act fast, I'd lose it.  Someone else would get it if I didn't make a decision.  But I bided my time.  I nearly drove certain people nuts, but I swear, I knew what I was doing.  Sure enough, day by day, reasons to let the others go and choose the one we finally did, kept revealing themselves.  And I realized it was just like writing.

As I have admitted here before, I get ideas for books and stories in the shower.  And I like it fine that way.  I love that the ideas start as seeds and those kernels burst into paragraphs, chapters, story arcs, and finally, a finished project.  But I never sit down and say to myself, Today I will write about....witches.  Or ghosts, or things that you wish would have gone bump in the night.  Every story I write chooses me.

You know the old adage, write what you know?  I do that.  Not even consciously either.  When I wrote Spellbound, I was exposed to a person who was a practicing Wiccan.  Not directly, peripherally, but that was all it took.  Ghostly came about from a conversation with someone about how her grandmother came to her when she passed.  Musina wiggled in my head and said, Why are the ghosts always old grandparents?  What would be wrong with a hottie ghost?  Turns out...nothing.

Would it surprise you to know that when I was the general manager of a failing car rental facility, I wrote a story about aliens landing at LAX?  Or that now as a Risk Manager for a cab company, my freshest horror tome features a graveyard shift cabbie?  Or that my latest big project is set in the same state where I have family and once went to high school there? (shout out to Louisville, KY, ya'll!)

Your stories are out there, waiting, for just the right time to jump in your head.  I promise.  It happens to me time after time.  So what are you doing right now?  Your story has been looking for you.  Let it choose you.


  1. Even before I said I'd help with the charity for The Pet Fund I had a story idea rolling around in my head. Then Opal posted the call and Dakota, blast his furry body, said the story HAD to go into the charity. So now I find myself putting two books on hold while I write this one. All because my muse told me to.

    1. Yeah, mine's a demanding bitch as well.

  2. I totally hear you! Every time I end a novel, I'm nervous that I won't have anything else to write about. Then I give it a little while and BAM! There it is. It might just be a seed, or it might be a whole story. Either way, I ruminate on it until it blossoms.

  3. Yep. I accidentally found myself hosting a group on Steampunk Empire...any wonder I wound up writing a steampunk novel?

  4. Congrats on finding the perfect house, Samantha. Glad you listened to your instincts.

    The shower or driving is where my stories take root and I wouldn't have it any other way.:)