“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Have you ever had a sentence just pop into your head out of nowhere? Something so outside of what you were doing at the time it stopped you in your tracks? That random, unexpected, inexplicable sentence ended up being the first words of my novel, Rayven’s Keep. A novel, I might add, I wasn’t even contemplating writing.
I would love to say a fully formed story idea followed quickly behind that short sentence, but it didn’t. All I had was a new word document, one sentence and a blinking cursor quietly minding its own business while I tried to figure out what just happened. Who was this character, Nick Rayven, and what the heck was Lodestone, and why did he hate it?
Always up for an adventure, I found words starting to flow and before I knew it I had a rough draft of my first chapter– and I do mean rough! Over the next days bits and pieces of the story arc started to jell in my mind. My critique partner would read some of what I had written and then ask me questions I struggled to answer. I swear I would almost break out in a sweat while I tried to work my way through the plot. But, she forced me to take a germ of an idea and fully flesh it out – if only in my mind. Have you figured out I am a bit of a pantser yet?
I worried I would never be able to finish the book, but I kept plugging away refining sentences, working through plot problems and growing to love my characters and the journey they were on.
I learned to take feedback without personalizing it and realized the comments most often strengthened the story. I also came to realize this was just the first story in the world I was building and while refining the plot for this one I was also laying the groundwork for the ones to follow.
When that sentence popped into my head I never dreamed it would finish with a book that was a finalist in the Golden Rose Contest or a first place winner in a contest sponsored by Lyrical Press – How Lyrical is your Romance. I never imagined I would be offered a contract.
Rayven’s Keep has been a wild ride from start to finish and I can’t wait for the story to be released by Lyrical Press on June 3. I am astounded by the power of one random sentence that started it all.
What was the trigger for your story?
Great website, interesting post. Wishing you all the best in all your writing endeavors!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate the good wishes!
Hi Naomi, Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope to see you here again 🙂
Hi, Kylie. Congrats on Rayven’s Keep. What a beautiful cover…and a beautiful website. I’m also a Lyrical Press author. It’s great to meet you and discover your site!
I am glad you like the book cover and my website. Lyrical is a great place to belong, isn’t it?
Kylie! How wonderful for you, dear friend. Love the site, love the cover for Rayven’s Keep, and love how the entire story (and world) started with a sentence!
The idea for one of my stories started out as a steaming rant against one of the dudes I worked with at the time. I was so annoyed with him, I spent travel time between project sites thinking of all the ways I could kill him — not literally, of course — until I’d exhausted myself. It was then I realized that he must have *some* redeeming qualities. After all, he had a wife and children who loved him.
It was then that I wondered about what kind of a past would build his kind of character so that *voila*, by the time I’d reached my office the next day I’d managed to turn him into the hero of my second book! Of course, if I ever sell this one, he’ll never guess he was the “inspiration”. 🙂
It is amazing where inspiration comes from. How wonderful you were able to turn a negative into such a positive. When your book is published I will smile knowing how the idea came about 🙂 and enjoy it all the more!
Melia! I am so happy you dropped in to say hello. You are so creative and fun and I always enjoy visiting your blog. Your “male observation lab” is a wealth of inspiration 🙂
Hi, Kylie. I saw your link on the Lyrical author loop. So nice to meet another Lyrical author. Love, love the cover. So excited for you. June is so close.
It is always a pleasure to meet a fellow Lyrical author! Thank you for taking the time to stop in and leave a comment. June is roaring towards me faster than I believed possible. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact I will soon have a book out there – wow!
Love the new website! And so excited to see your book coming out! Yay!! Looks like my kind of read.
I think our best writing occurs from the single idea that will not leave our heads. It is the seed of wonder that germinates and grows vigorously, at times fiercely, into a story that had to be told.
Cathryn! So good to hear from you. I miss you at our RCRW meetings. Thank you for your kind words and support.
It is amazing how a flash of an idea will haunt us until we write it down, isn’t it? It can be a wild ride, but so very, very rewarding in the end.
Beautiful Website, interesting well written blogs. Well done. You should find the follow or subscribe app for the side so we can become your minion.
Hi Liza, Funny you should mention the subscribe app. I planned to add it, but I am still trying to figure out some of the finer nuances of WordPress 🙂 Thank you for the positive feedback and for your “minion” idea. It made me giggle.
Kylie, congratulations on your upcoming book! I am a pantser, too, I’ve had the opening sentence of my next book, a bit of dialogue, running through my head for quite some time now, and kept putting off beginning the story. I finally started writing it. Good to get that line out of my head and onto paper!
Hi Linda! Welcome to a fellow procrastinator and pantser! It is a good think my Muse is a bit of a nag or I would never get anything accomplished. Isn’t it wonderful when you finally give in, sit down and start to write? Good luck with your story.
Hi Kylie, Love your blog and can’t wait to read Rayven’s Keep.
One of my planned books was inspired by a phrase out of the blue. That has evolved into a very complex cross-genre story. Who wouldda thunk it?
Sometimes it’s a ‘what if?’ What would happen if a very good girl did a very, very bad thing?
Sarah! So good to see you here. I am always amazed when a lightening-strike idea hits and there you have it – a sentence that evolves into something amazing. Now I am curious and want to read what your very good girl did 🙂
Gorgeous site, Kylie! I’m the same way with beginnings; it’s one sentence or image that starts everything rolling until I end up with a book. I always figure if I give the characters enough freedom, they’ll show me where they want to go. I look forward to seeing where yours took you. 🙂
Thank you! Do you ever argue with your characters? I swear there are times when I want to go in one direction and all I get is resistance from my characters. The real kicker is I am usually wrong 😉
I’ve given up arguing. They gloat too much when I’m wrong. 🙂
Just dropped in to admire your new digs. *waves* Nice site.
Hi Penny *waves madly back*. How are you? I am so excited you dropped in to check out my digs :-). Can you believe Rayven’s Keep will be released soon?
You’re inspiring me to persevere. Congratulations and thanks for such a great post!
Hi Linda. I hope you do persevere and get your story out there for all of us to enjoy. You were a Marine – this should be a piece of cake compared to that, right? Good luck with the writing, I know you can do it 🙂