Happy New Year to one and all! It is hard to believe that 2017 is already a part of the history books. Now I look eagerly toward all great things for 2018.
This month we Quills are writing about what has or does inspire us to write and/or or what may have inspired us to write a particular work.
First up is Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies and Blood and Shadow.
As I near the day I push the “publish” button for the second book in The Mage’s Gift, this seems a good time to reflect on the motivation behind the story. I think it was years in the making, and I think I will say the same about all my books and stories. What does inspire me? What prompts me to set pen to paper (I really did start out that way), and then fingers to keyboard? I’m inclined to call it “magic.”
The best part of our monthly posts for me, is reading what my fellow Quills have to say. Thank you, Robin! Now I turn my attention to P.S. Broaddus's comments. What say you, Parker?
I like the question "what inspired you?" To inspire is to motivate, to encourage, to incite. It is an action that is uniquely intimate through its connection with personal desire. It touches on motivations and vocations, capturing both the mind and the heart. To be inspired is a special thing, and to inspire others an almost otherworldly, yet, perhaps, a worthy goal. Depending on the end. Depending on what you inspire your neighbor toward.
Is it my turn now? Is it really my turn now?
Yes, it is! So, here are my thoughts . . .
Taking a short hiatus from writing my fantasy series (The Oathtaker Series) over the past few months, I’ve been working instead on a non-fantasy story entitled, So I Opened My Mouth and Screamed. It will be published in 2018.
This story is near and dear to my heart, as being aware of a real-life story with which this one shares features, I felt I had to write it. It opens when a young man breaks and enters into the home of a family and, armed with a knife, sexually assaults the youngest family member (a young woman just turned 16) and threatens her not to call for help. I don’t want to give away the details, but the young woman in question is/was not your typical 16-year old. Rather than being a victim to the demands of her unknown assailant, she did precisely what he demanded she not do. That is, she screamed. She screamed loud and long and strong. Of course, help came running. But the story did not end after the assailant fled the scene. The young woman and all of her family were then left to deal with the aftermath of such an invasion of their place of refuge, and the assault, itself.
While based loosely on real-life events, the particulars have changed sufficiently such that this would not be deemed a work of non-fiction. The family is different, the family member characters are different, and the setting is different. But I used one crucial fact from the real-life story. Specifically, the young woman proved to be her own hero. But she also became a hero to other women (including me!). You see, this young woman’s story makes me appreciate the power of my own voice in a new way. How did that come about? Well, the girl in my story (as in real life), explained to the police what had transpired. She said that once she was fully awake, she realized that events were real and not part of a dream, and that the person who was demanding she do certain things and who threatened her with a knife against calling for help, was real. In telling her story, she said that in her panic, she thought about what she should do. Upon recollecting that her mother had told her to scream should such a thing occur, she said, “So, I opened my mouth . . . and screamed.” Once she was able to do that, help came.
The young hero in my story doesn’t always feel like a hero. Often she feels like a victim. But as time has passed since that dark summer night, and as she has come to look at the events now through the help of a counselor and in other ways, she has grown better able to appreciate that she is not just a victim. She is not even “just” a survivor. Her life wasn’t over the night someone tried to harm her—and the event did not “ruin” her future. You see, she is a fighter. She is a winner. And as such, she is a model for us all.
I discovered something in her story that I though worthy of sharing with others. Specifically, I discovered that sometimes, in the midst of horror and danger, we have but to find our voices.
That's it for this time around. Thank you for joining us. Please leave your comments and visit again soon!