Stephen King – of the King dynasty of writers – talks about not planning his stories. he goes by the seat of his pants. He is, I guess, a pantster. We will all pretend that is a word. I think I can agree with that. Most of my stories are not plotted out, but instead flow by instinct and shaped by western 3-act story telling. I should say I do have a note book with scratchings, newspaper articles etc. that will be used to develop a future project.
My new novella The Life and Remembrances of Martha Toole was very much a pantster story. I was at work with the clients who love to watch The Waltons – they will watch it all day long if they could! – and in the middle of a story I said to myself ‘what if?’ and in that moment I had to leap up and run to the next room to catch the story. The first line and an image came flying at me.
I was never a huge fan of The Waltons. I have come to appreciate the show a bit in recent memory – its virginia setting and John-Boy (John Jr. for those who don’t understand ancient southern honorifics) and his journey to being a writer are stories and settings I can relate to. That shows first 5 years (out of 9!) are something to behold.
Monday, as I was doing my last edits, the episode that inspired it all was on again. If felt right and powerful and a bit sad – we were, after all, telling two, very different stories.
Martha Toole is not my attempt to write The Waltons. It is my attempt at a southern, suburban ghost story.
And For Other Things: soft launch is launched and true to its nature has revealed glitches that need to be fixed. Big thanks to my editor Dara, ProBookCovers.com for the cover and the Indie Authors Group and WriteOn NaNos for the support.