I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Sole Tree


This tree grows alongside the highway near my home. Yep, it’s growing straight out of a rock formation. I like this little oak that struggled to live and is now thriving. It reminds me of the stories of my heart, and the struggle I have in getting them on paper, like the one I’m working on now—Disappearing Act.

Early on, a few areas of the story were well defined, like the tree. Other elements were like the dark objects in the branches. Unclear, muddled ... blobs

The story was triggered by a news report about a woman with amnesia who finally went to the police after five years. Instantly, I wanted to know why someone would not go to the authorities if they had a total blank about their lives. Disappearing Act was born.

Scenarios popped into my mind. Maybe my heroine woke up and there was a dead man next to her ... with knife in his chest. And, maybe she was holding a satchel of money in her lap. That would tend to make someone not report amnesia. Disappearing Act began to take shape and characters developed.

While the heroine might not understand who she is, I, as the author had to know. I knew that even if she never regained her memory, the core of who she was did not change. What were her values? What was that one thing she wanted, but believed she could never have? What lie did she believe before she lost her memory? Because all characters have lies they believe that tie into their greatest fear.

Slowly, the story and characters came into focus, and I was able to see those parts that were unclear. I’m a long way from being finished, and sometimes Disappearing Act takes unexpected twists and turns.

Like the Sole Tree.

Admit it. You thought those were birds in the tree, too, didn’t you?

How has your WIP taken twists you didn't expect?

Pat Trainum
www.lovefaithandmurder.com
http://mbtponderers.blogspot.com/
I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write


Photo curtesy of students who buy new tennis shoes and fling them up into the little oak. There are now approximately a hundred pair of shoes dangling over the highway.

20 comments:

  1. Pat, what a successful amazing premise--love it and have to read the book. Thanks for such a thought-provoking post reminder that we must always be on the lookout for inspiration. You go, girl!

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  2. How has my WIP NOT taken turns I didn't expect. I am a pantser and my characters tell me what's going to happen. There's a surprise every day.

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  3. Thanks, Dee. This has been an idea that won't go away--I've had it for at least 15 years. It's a fun book to work on.

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  4. Jean, so glad you stopped by! I wish sometimes I were a panster...I like the idea of a new surprise every day.

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  5. Pat, what a delightful post! I loved the analogy of the tree and your story gradually taking shape (thriving) over time. I can hardly wait to read it! I love how you shared where the idea came from and the questions you asked to help define the story. I have a character that came to mind recently, but I haven't had time to explore her. You've given me some direction. Thanks! Happy writing!

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  6. Wow, Pat! Your post took me by surprise!! I didn't think those were shoes up in that tree, that's for sure! What a great word picture--literally and figuratively!!
    How hasn't my current WIP taken me by surprise? I'm spending more time on the "Whys" then I've ever done--and I'm not finished yet. And my writing friends keep asking me "why?" too. Just last night I sat in Panera Bread with a writing buddy, Mary A., and she kept throwing the "whys" at me.
    And your book sounds so intriguing. Can't wait to read it.

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  7. Pat, I love the sole tree--the analogy and the photo of the tree with shoes. Just like a tiny seed, our stories begin from a single "hmm, I wonder..." thought.

    Rachel Hauck says to keep asking why until you get to the core of your story or character's motivation. Such great advice. Digging into our stories helps us to break up those roots so they can spread out and grow.

    I look forward to holding your book in my hands soon! Sounds like a terrific story.

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  8. Beth, the first time I saw the tree I had to turn around and go back to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. Tennis shoes in a tree? I don't know who put them in the tree but over the past year more and more shoes have been added. This winter I plan to get another shot of the tree when you can really see the shoes. lol

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  9. Lisa, yes I love Rachel's whys!I've learned so much from her. Being in My Book Therapy has been such a Godsend!

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  10. Update: driving around town & found myself asking "Why." And my character surprised me with something I didn't know about her!! Deepened the story significantly. I'm learning you can never ask too many "Whys."

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  11. I love the sole tree. In Nevada we found a "shoe tree". It had thousands of shoes in it - yes thousands. It was so cool - I loved the play on words.

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  12. Jennie, this probably would be called a shoe tree. Kids (presumably) have been tossing shoes up into the branches for about a year now. I'm guessing at least a hundred pair.

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  13. Pat, I love your description of the sole tree and its tie to your story process taking shape. Like the others, I can't wait to read your book. Well done!

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  14. Love the title, Pat. Learning a lot from you.

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  15. Thanks Pam. When I saw those shoes in the tree that grew out of the rocks, I knew there had to be a blog post there. lol

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  16. Thanks for stopping by Cheryl.

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  17. Awesome post, Pat!! The shoes in the tree completely surprised me...and your story sounds so intriguing!! Can't wait to read it someday...

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  18. Thanks, Melissa. Glad I surprised you. Lots of work to do on the book, though. lol

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  19. We need to throw some shoes in that tree!

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  20. Absolutely, Patricia! I've got to find out the story behind the shoes.

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