She didn't need to follow the footprints to know where they went. She ran to the round kiddie pool with the whale and the turtle. Her three year old boy was already trying to climb onto the turtle's back. "You're a quick one," she said, and stepped into the cool pool. Already both sets of footprints were fading in the heat.
Day after day, the woman and the boy came to the pools. The average observer might have thought they were merely waiting for her other children while they took swimming lessons at the big pool. Though that was partially true, something much larger was going on, something that would eventually change that woman's life. She was turning into an author.
The conditions were perfect for such a transformation. A beautiful spot with lots of sensory stimulation. The need for her brain to stay alert, but with plenty of downtime And a question...
That's the question that transforms me from your average ordinary woman into a super-being capable of creating whole worlds inside my mind. Why would a character interesting enough to be the main character of a novel be standing in a kiddie pool?
Obviously she's a fairy with an affinity for water.
Well yes, but why is she here? In this place?
Why is she here at all?
Hmmm....maybe she's trapped on Earth, and she got a job taking care of an elderly woman. Yeah! And she's falling in love with the woman's grandson, and this is his sister's daughter. Yeah.
Why is she on Earth?
Ooh. Good question, and I'm glad you asked. Because she was being hunted for her particularly strong magic on her own world. Once she got here, someone closed the gates between the worlds, and now she is trapped.
Why is she so sad?
And so on...day after day. By the time I noticed what was happening, I'd already been daydreaming about it for weeks. I backtracked so far that the book I wrote was all about Jenny's time in her own world, not on Earth. If I ever write a sequel, however, this scene will be in it, for sure.
It won't be a major scene of course. In fact, it may only be there for sentimental purposes. (Yes, I know, I know, kill your darlings. But surely, there will be a way for me to work in the setting at least. Only time will tell.)
WHY are you telling us this, Melanie?
My way of imagining a random scene and using it to create a whole world is probably not the method you use to create a story, and I wonder if we could learn from each other. It's good to find many pathways to creativity.
My particular method works well for creating strong characters and rich worlds. It's not usually so great at helping me with story arcs, and that's something I really struggle with. So tell me: