Most readers want to understand how a writer develops a story and where their characters come from.
For me, the story comes in an aha moment. Something will trigger a feeling or circumstance that plants the seed. With my novel "Marquel," the idea hit me in a moment of sadness. I was very burned out over many things in my personal life and just tired of trying to fix things that were out of my control.
I remember very distinctly that my husband was in the living room watching t.v. and our daughter Marquel was in bed asleep in her room. She was 4. As I was crossing through the dark hallway next to Marquel's room, the character Marquel appeared in my thoughts. She just overwhelmed me with grief.
That was the aha moment.
I wasn't even thinking about writing. I just remember feeling this woman's pain. As I entered our dark bedroom, I didn't turn on the light. I just sat on the edge of the bed and turned to lie down. As my body was in motion to recline, I saw the story flashing through my head like rapid fire flipcards and by the time my shoulders and head hit the pillow I was overwhelmed with the movie I had watched in seconds.
I was so amazed that I sat up in a nervous excitement and grasped for some scrap of paper and a pen. That is also common for me. I write on envelope, scraps, magazine covers, napkins, anything. And I started making notes in the dark. I wasn't about to waste a minute, I didn't want to forget something. I thought about telling my husband, but I knew he wouldn't understand. So I scribbled key words to remind me of different points I wanted to remember.
I felt I gave birth to the character Marquel that evening. She was in my head and wanted me to get her story on paper. This was the beginning of the fulfillment of a goal I made at age 15. I said I would have a daughter Marquel and that I'd write book about a character Marquel.
While my daughter was in the next room sleeping, her namesake was pushing her way out into the world through my pen.