When one of my daughters was about ten, her school bus came later than those of the other kids, so she and I had half an hour or so one-on-one time. I loved to make up stories, and some of my best (maybe) ideas came at that time. This means fiction…since I was a working newspaper reporter and writer at the time I was writing other types of material —news stories, police reports, obits, motor vehicle crashes, city meeting coverage— when I wasn’t making up far-out stories.
The story I am referring to was about a tiny slug that landed on a patch of grass, and was saved from trampling by a group of scuffling boys by a young girl named Fonzie McElroy. Turned out the Slug was no other than Prince Rehebal, of some distant planet that was left behind on an exploratory visit to Earth. To fast-forward the plot, the young Prince was rescued by returning space crew…and Fonzie was richly rewarded, although no one but she ever believed the tale was true.
I know…sounds vaguely like “ET,” which had not hit the movie theaters yet, and I did not hear about for at least a decade. Yes, I did type up (on newspaper print paper) and I still have the original.
Another of my languishing plots was a Civil War theme, set on a Confederate prisoner-of-war island, a sutler’s daughter who fell for a Rebel army officer, and so the historical novel was set to go. A sutler was a farmer or merchant who set up sales of produce like onions and potatoes in periodic markets held by prison officials for the imprisoned soldiers.
Then there is the loose plot of a murder mystery set in a small town, peopled by town municipal workers like council members, police, and of course a newspaper reporter that solves the whole crime. My heroine is still (after about 30 years real time) sitting at the railroad tracks waiting for a train to pass, the murderer holding a gun to the reporter’s side–while the police chief waits on the other side of the train tracks.
In my Science Fiction story the location is a planet which is ruled by women. All of the men are sent out on space ships doing various jobs, and serving out their time until they and their wives can reunite and move to a utopian planet where they live out their years in happy wedded bliss.
The probability of any of those works ever seeing the light of day is remote. My more recent interests are in writing Historical topics in which I have an interest…such as the British Abolition of the Slave Trade; Liberation Theology in Latin America; and various other essay contributions.
Oh, and my current…and possibly only novel is one that I worked on as a National Novel Writing Month (not the correct name, but the popular writers’ competition in which the goal was to write a 60,000 word novel in one month…which was accomplished mostly stream-of-consciousness-style with no correcting spelling or style or anything else…just pounding away for 30 days. That NaNoWriMo exercise is THE most useful and inspiring writing experience I have undertaken. I have elaborated on the plot and the work to a great extent. It is part Historical and part Time-Travel.
The topic of my novel was based on my doctoral dissertation (which I did not bring to completion within allotted time.) Obviously no one except my advisor professor has ever read the Final Draft, which I wish now with all my heart that I had completed. Various readers such as my kids and best friends…captives, if you will…SAY they read the copies that I gave them ten years ago, but their eyes glaze over as they say it. It’s about History of 500 years of the Catholic Church in Mexico, or something like that. It’s a LOT more interesting than you all think!
What got in the way of my writing was … well… writing. I often whine that “I wish I had been a Writer.” I spent years writing for newspapers, term papers, writing minutes as secretary of city boards and commissions, in college writing assignments and serious papers. E-mailing (the way I have always done it) is sort of like writing as I wrote to my friends and other people.
Blogging is writing of course…and I love it because it is a combination of all the different kinds of writing I have ever done: Fiction, poems, rants, news stories, satire, responding to prompts about all kinds of things…and writing about writing. Photographing isn’t writing of course, but in a way it can be in that photos tell stories in and of themselves, or they serve as props for accompanying prose.