"Frightened and alone with a broken leg, his survival and finding his way home weighed in his mind during the nightmares of his restless night. When he awoke the next morning, trying to climb back to the top of the cliff he had tumbled down, using branches to pull him and support him and his damaged leg along with a makeshift crutch fashioned from a dead limb, he ran smack dab into what he feared most –an Indian—it chilled him to his bone marrow and he thought his life was over. Life took a few turns that surprised him, and he learned some lessons he would never forget, but he never took life for granted after his adventures."
Watch For The Raven Wrote Itself, I like to think.
By Billie A Williams
Watch For The Raven is one of my favorite books. The reason is twofold. My love of Native American tradition, culture and lore and the need to quash, the mostly untrue, history of savage behavior of the tribes. I want to share what I know. The other reason is this. My mother was terminally ill with cancer, I was her caregiver. One day before I left she told me that when her grandfather, my great grandfather, would tell stories, and he was an avid and wonderful story teller, she said, he would always begin with "When Tag was a pup, and Turkey's chewed tabbaccy (tobacco)…"
That struck me as a connection to her past I had never heard before. When I went home that night (another sister relieved me) I wrote that sentence on the top of my notebook. Time slipped by quickly.
Mother died a couple weeks later. When I sat down to write again, the sentence was waiting. I began writing. It has been my method to do extensive character sketches first before I start my stories, I didn't this time. I met Josh Avery on the page and followed him from his anger at being put upon to do his father's bidding, through his pain and regret when he found himself at the bottom of a cliff a few inches of jutting rock ledge separated him from certain death in the raging river below.
Frightened and alone with a broken leg, his survival and finding his way home weighed in his mind during the nightmares of his restless night. When he awoke the next morning, trying to climb back to the top of the cliff he had tumbled down, using branches to pull him and support him and his damaged leg along with a makeshift crutch fashioned from a dead limb, he ran smack dab into what he feared most –an Indian—it chilled him to his bone marrow and he thought his life was over.
This story flowed from my pen as fast as I could write it, or nearly so. If I faltered, my mother's and my great-grandfather's words seemed to nudge me forward.
During the editing stage my publisher's editorial staff caught phrases that didn't fit the era, or time frame of the Colorado 1800's that was my story setting. The story was made better during that stage. There were a few rough places that called for rewrites. They had made sense in my head and when I wrote them, but the editing and re-reading showed me the story was whole but there were holes in it here and there. So, while it flowed from my pen a whole piece, its pieces didn't quite fit together the way I thought they did, but they did fit in the finished product, thanks to the editors.
Even though I like to say, this story wrote itself, as writer's we know, the story may stumble to the page, if the ideas keep coming, if the twists and turns appear where they need to, it's easy to get wrapped up in its flow and never emerge from that writer's trance until we write The End. Then the 'real' work begins. The story is there, certainly, fully formed, but we need to roll and pat, nip and tuck, fix a blown seam or miter a corner, until the fabric of our story becomes a seamless whole to be presented to the world.
I, and every writer I know, let go of the apron strings, reluctantly, as if "this story" was our first born, no matter which book number this one might be. Holding our breath, hoping for rave reviews, "Be kind to my baby," we breathe out. Then we pick up the pen, much like the crusader's sword, and begin again, hoping to find the next story that writes itself into being.
Best-Selling, Award winning Mystery/Suspense author Billie A Williams is a fiction, non-fiction and poetry author and has won numerous contests for her short/flash fiction stories, essays, and poetry. Currently she has over two dozen books published. She is published in various magazines such as the literary magazine Thema; Guide, a Magazine for Children, Novel Advice.com, Writing Etc. WritingNow.com, and Women In The Arts newsletter as well as Sister’s in Crime, to list but a few.
Williams is currently a member of The Wisconsin Regional Writers Association (WRWA) Sister’s in Crime, Women in the Arts Program, Pen Writer's Org., Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (SCBWI) and Children’s Book Insider, and the Children Writers Coaching Club, Working Writers Club. Visit her at her website www.billieawilliams.com
or sign up for her Newsletter The Mystery Readers Connection at http://www.themysteryconnection.com. Visit her blog at http://printedwords.blogspot.com . Find her, also on Twitter.
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