Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Where does STORY come from? Writing ideas are a mystery and I like it that way because I love the daily surprises waiting for me in the unfolding words. I recently read THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner, and loved the places where her characters told stories within the story. I did this in THE BEAST OF NOOR with The Shriker's Tale, and a bit in DRAGON'S KEEP and I'm at it again this week.

Right now I'm working on two new books: BOUND BY THREE -- a companion book to DRAGON'S KEEP (Harcourt), and STEALING DEATH (Egmont).

A few days ago I ended a scene in STEALING DEATH knowing my captive character, Kipp, needed to tell a story. I set the scene up one day and ended my writing session by jotting Oh, Boy! A Story! on the page. I left my writing for the next day not knowing what story Kipp would tell, only that I was looking forward to finding out.

Okay here's where the mystery and magic comes in. The bounty hunter has tied up Kipp, left his helper, Billy on first watch, and bedded down near them by the fire. Kipp's purpose for telling the tale is to put Billy to sleep so he can get away from the bounty hunter, but I (the writer) also knew the story had to have a significant connection to the rest of the novel.

What I had going for me: Billy is whittling a spear by the fire, using his knife to intimidate Kipp. Kipp thinks about using the spear Billy is making to draw him into the tale -- okay so the story needed to include a spear.

What else? I knew I had to introduce The Daughter of Time who will appear later in the book -- so maybe a creation story?

What else? My son Josh likes to take my cool collected objects and set them up in his room. Things like candles, glass holders, special stones. Josh recently confiscated my clear glass egg. I found it on his desk and stole it back. So I was staring at the glass egg on my desk when I flipped on the computer.

Kipp began to tell the story. I was amazed at how easily he put all the elements together and came up with in interesting creation tale with a crystal egg, a spear, and The Daughter of Time. I had to tap the keys at a pretty fast rate to keep up with him. The tale was so fun it was a challenge to slow to an ending that would actually lull Billy to sleep. Kipp managed that too, but does he escape from the watchful Billy and the bounty hunter? We'll see about that.

Until next time

dream well


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