Monday, December 8, 2014

Making a Story

Winner of The Covered Deep:  Heather Gilbert!
How do writers think of new story ideas?

It's a fearfully wonderful process. Every author knows that finishing a novel is as bittersweet for the writer as it is for the reader. We know we will soon have to introduce ourselves to new characters. The excitement that comes with thinking about the next adventure is akin to preparing to leave on a wonderful journey.

But it's not without fear and trembling, and lots of questions....
--what if I come up blank?
--what if I don't like my new characters?
--what if I don't want to go on the inner journey they will take me on as they drag me though their
   conflicts and conquests?

Yet I like to think of Erin Hanson's quote: "What if I fall? Oh, but darling, what if you fly?" It's worth the jump...

So, how do I dream up the next story? I usually start cruising Pinterest for some visual prompts and start fitting fragments together. Let's try it.


I found this 1888 book and checked it out on Google books. In general, it's about touring Scotland up the Royal Route on a steamer.

Ohhh! So, maybe my heroine is riding the steamer with her guardian, a great uncle, to a little known village to help lead a stag hunting group....

Let's name her Lilly Cullochy. I found the surname from the Google Book report that lists the hotel owners along the route the steamers take.

She is American-born, forced back to her family's Scottish roots when her parents die and her father's will provisions made her great uncle her guardian eight years before. She's come of age five years ago, but remains dependent upon her uncle's care and subject to his whims until she can find a way to pay her passage back to her American home.

The longer she's been gone, the fainter her memories of home have grown. Aware that her situation is unconventional, she embraces the freedom it affords her. Would she give it up to go back home?

 Here's our hero. Let's name him.....

I think he looks like an Ewen MacKinnon. Owner of a hotel along the Royal Route. At the rural hunting lodge, Ewen is not dressed for business when Lilly meets him. He's dressed for a stag hunt, making coffee, in the kitchen of the stone house where Lilly's uncle has dragged her for the season. It's the most rural place he's ever taken her...almost like the hills and green valleys of her Kentucky.

Ewen inherited his family hotel and lands and is in line to take the family business into the new century, but he yearns to leave the business to his brother and remain secluded on the land that calls to his spirit, a place where he can hear God's voice and live among the simple village people he loves.

When Lilly arrives, she's grown weary of straggling along with her Uncle Gregory's adventures, and she worries he's grown too old to continue his escapades. Stepping onto the deck of the steamer, she wonders when her travels will end.


 When Uncle Gregory collapses in an unseasonal storm that freezes the land and locks it in snow, Lilly must strike out to find their lodging and help.

Outside the lodge her uncle had described to her, Lilly imagines the stone house sits in her beloved Kentucky valley and ventures through the back door.

Lilly steps inside the hunter's lodge but it speaks only of men and hunting, erasing the faint feminine memories of Lilly's mother and the lacy curtains that lined the windowsills of her childhood home.

What will happen to Lilly, Ewen, and Uncle Gregory? What conflicts will confront Lilly's plan to return to America? Ewen only wants to let go of all responsibilities, but now he has a dying man and young ward in his care......

There remain lots of holes and blanks to fill in, but this is how a story starts.....
Would you read a story like this one?

Why or why not?
What else would you put in Lilly and Ewen's story?
What spiritual thread would fit with this story?
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Represented by Sarah Freese, WordServe Literary


  1. Hey you stole my hottie hero from my "super good looking dead people" board ;) lolol great post Anne!

    1. Heehee!! Now you know he's really Scottish! :)

  2. Yes, I would read it - sounds like an exciting story!! Thanks for showing us the process of getting the story started - so interesting!!

    I can imagine Lilly's uncle lingering with an illness while Ewen is falling in love with her and seeking God's guidance. When the uncle dies, Lilly's inheritance provides her passage back to Ky. - Ewen, as her escort, falls in love with Ky. and stays there, leaving the hotel and land to his brother to care for. Other conflicts and characters are interspersed through the story before the happy ending in Ky. - Ewen may have a hunting accident - leading Lilly to realize how much she cares for him, there could be conflicts with the brother that are resolved, Ewen leads Lilly to see the importance of trusting God for her future, Lilly works at the hotel or takes a job elsewhere to earn a living while also nursing her sick uncle, etc., etc..

    1. Ohh, you are a natural Bonnie! See how just starting it, takes it in all sorts of directions. I just might have to write this novel!! :)


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