You ever had a specific image crop up in your mind when you think about a story you’re telling? Have you ever thought about very specific scenarios which for some reason tend to form the creative backbone of your story? Do you often daydream of these scenarios while continuing on your run-of-the-mill life? But, perhaps more importantly, have you ever had these scenarios shattered within that frightening realm of your mind? 😀
If so, it might come as a surprise (probably not) that you are not alone.
I’ve thought about this on multiple occassions, but due to the quirky and borderline eccentric nature of this phenomenon, I’ve bitten my tongue on it. Yet, ironically enough, this is what I would consider to be the “realest” part of writing. It would be easy to refer to it as “Vision” but I fear that that term would be downplaying how crucial this element is to our writing process. But maybe fumbling around with obtuse terms won’t do us any good, so let me back track to my personal experience with this.
One of the images that pops up into my mind when I think about my story is a campfire. Not magical flame, no prophecy being foretold within the crackling ember, and all in all, your typical fire. Just a plain image of watching a pile of lumber pop and snap with embers dancing in erratic flight. That, and my main characters huddled around it. Whenever I think on it, it brings me feelings of nostalgia for something that never truly was. I know I’m slipping into pretentious territory here, but bear with me.
Campfires are really special to me. I’m a Boy Scout, and I can personally confess that just the sight of one melts my heart. But my connection to this image of my heroes huddled around a fire goes deeper than that. I see it as a symbol of unabashed comraderie and friendship, cringy as that might be. I wonder to myself what they’re saying to one another, what stories they’re sharing amongst each other? Are they laughing? Are they crying? Or are they just gazing into the flames? When I first thought up this image, I came to a simple realization.
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know who these people were. I didn’t where these people were camping. I didn’t know their names, their desires, their stories, their roles, or their relationships with one another. What I saw before me was an image that was meant to be the purest expression of humanity that in my eyes, yet, one that was missing one thing. It’s humanity.
And it was the moment that I realized that only I, and no one else, could inject humanity into that image, I knew that I wanted to write that tale.
For me, it wasn’t so much a desire to unlock the secrets that these individuals held within them, nor was it a wish to submerge myself in these Uncharted lands of magic and mystery that motivated my desire to write. It was only that yearning to feel what those heroes felt when they huddled by that fire which motivated me to write.
And since then, it was that image that stuck with me whenever I wanted directions in which to take my story. That image burned in my mind like an iron brand on a cow’s hide whenever I was graced by the Muse’s presence. That image stood by my side when I had to slay characters or delve into dark turns in the story. When Writer’s Block gripped me, that image remained as a hazy reminder that I should power through those slumps in my creativity. It was the medal that I strived for in each instance that I wrote.
And to this day, it still is.
Frankly, I don’t if many others have had an experience like this. Maybe some of you are reading this post with incredulous expressions, rolling your eyes at my pseudo-intellectual banter. But I swear on my heart that all of this was true, and it powered me into finishing my first story. But my question is, have you ever had an image for your story? If so, please share!
As always, this has been the QuestingAuthor. Keep Writing, my friends.