I’ve gone through periods when I did not know if I’d ever get another writable idea. Since most writers are magpies, crows, and jays, and as such we collect shiny bits and pieces and tuck them away in our mental basements and attics for our lizard brain to start germinating, this circumstance is not only unusual, it’s terrifying. I’m a writer. If I can’t find an idea that excites and inspires me that I can write about, then I’m not a writer.
The funny thing is that ideas are usually a dime a dozen, insomuch as there are all kinds of ideas out there, but the key is finding one that inspires you to want to know more about the characters and their problems and their worlds. In other words, gives you the meat and cheese of a story. Really, the idea is no more than the menu.
Anyhow, when ideas are sparse for me, I will do menial/mindless types of chores. Cleaning. Gardening. Lawn mowing. That sort of thing. Usually that bores me enough that my head starts daydreaming to entertain myself and that’s the beginning of my ideas. Or at least it can be.
I don’t usually have dreams that inspire. But I did have one a couple of years ago that struck me powerfully and has continued to reverberate in my head. It gave me a world and characters and some conflict. I didn’t have time to write it at that point, and I still don’t, but I often will think of things and add notes and etc. I really want to write this book. Part of it is the emotional component that crashed over me when I was dreaming. It had a little bit of the feeling of Jane Eyre to it. A sort of tortured male character with a dark past who may or may not be a good man, and may or may not be a villain. A woman who from birth became a target, who was taken to the woods and dumped fairy tale style, only this was for her own good. She’s sort of raised by a friend of her father’s–a fur trapper/mountain man type who comes and goes and teaches her survival and other skills. And then . . . the world caves in for everybody in different ways and it throws them together, for better or worse.
There’s a lot more than that going on, but I want to talk more about the man female character. She’s a crow girl. I’m not going to explain what that means in the context of the world, but she’s a mix of crow and human.
A couple of years ago, an artist who I admire tremendously–Jessica Douglas–posted on her FB that she was opening for commissions. The price was right and I desperately wanted an original work from her. I told her a little bit about the crow girl and then when she asked me what specifically I wanted, I said I wanted her to run with it and see what she’d do. I knew her vision would mesh with mine. I just knew it.
A little while ago, she sent me the work. It’s mixed media, with stones, beads, feather, and paint. And it’s phenomenal. It captures my girl and now I’m even more excited to work on this novel. And that’s what I want to show you. The idea that came from a dream and ran through my head and into another head and out. This is my crow girl and a bad closeup of the beadwork and feathers. Her hair and some of her wing parts are feathers. The big stone is an agate, and there are chips of obsidian inside the beadwork. It’s amazing. Don’t you think?
So now I have to start on the writing and tell her story.