Inspiration. A beautiful word, often taking form from a million different sources. For some a particular lyric might seed a new idea. While others look to art, movies, even dreams.
Often, my ideas sprout from the most vivid dreams. I wake remembering every detail, down to the finest blade of grass squashed under the boot of my protagonist. Wyn’s life sprang into being in just such a way. The opening chapter in Of Ash & Shadow, though grown and changed from where it began, was originally a dream. A dream of a girl in a vast forest, fighting off a Fae for some unknown reason.
I could taste her anger. Feel the burn of their fight in my own limbs. Waking the next morning, I knew she deserved to have her story told. But, there was no story past chapter one. At least, not that I could tell after getting those first pages down on paper. I eked out another chapter a week later. Then another a week or so after that, and then, the story stalled.
Lucky for me, at the time, I was a part of an amazing group of writers. Also known as the students of Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction Masters program. I was graduating in the summer and knew Wyn’s story was important. I asked my friends for their opinions on the first chapter, pleased to hear positive reviews all around.
So, after graduation, and a sad breakup with my (now) ex-boyfriend over text message during my celebration dinner, I sat down with two of my closest friends from school – Jamie and Nikki – to plot Wyn’s story.
Jamie and Nikki are amazing friends and have listened to me whine about Wyn from the start. They helped provide me resources and subtle ideas I was able to turn into what is now hopefully an epic adventure for my protagonist. Without them, this story would be dead. And, for that, I’m forever grateful.
Once outlined, I began to write. Wyn’s story turned into a passion project. A project born of exploring my life post-anxiety. I used a good chunk of what I knew living with anxiety to guide the beginning of Wyn’s journey, and then let the lesson’s I learned post-anxiety to help lead Wyn to the end of her tale.
But, like for many, it all began with a dream.