basketball hoop among palm trees

When Writing Takes You to Unexpected Places

 November 27, 2019

Don’t you love it when writing takes you to unexpected places? This is certainly the case for the novel I started for NaNoWriMo 2019.

Josie

It started several years back when I went to the library for a writers’ round-table, expecting, duh, a round-table discussion. The previous month had been a presentation by a local author on the Underground Railroad in Jackson, MI. This month I had expected some give and take, sharing ideas, among local writers. When I found out it was going to be another presentation by an author, I resisted the urge to embarrass this young author by leaving the sparsely populated room. I’m glad I stayed as the young woman recounted her story of growing up with Charcout-Marie-Tooth Disease, a neurological disorder I had never heard about before.

Not only was I impressed by her presentation, I had to have her book, How Should a Body Be?. After I read her book over the next few days, I knew I had to write a character inspired by her story. Hence was born the character Josie who made her debut appearance in Lyrical Dance, the seventh book of my Dancing through Life Series.

Little did I know back then that Josie would end up studying environmental studies at University of California, Santa Cruz. And so I’ve traveled on-line to the campus of UCSC, home of the Banana Slug, located in the heart of the Redwoods.

Jacob

Little did I know that Jacob, one of Joy’s three children left motherless in book two of the series, would someday become a basketball player. What did I know about basketball outside of watching the Spartans play each year and what I learned in eighth grade gym class? But it seemed like a natural progression for this character. His mother’s love of dance expressed itself in his agility on the court. Even so, I figured his playing basketball would just be a backdrop for his story, not an integral part of it, until Jacob told me differently.

I knew nothing about minor league basketball or a European league. But then, that’s what husbands are for. He filled me in enough to direct me in my search. And so I discovered the G League, minors for the NBA. I also found out you could make decent money playing in some of the European leagues. Jacob ended up playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors after a stint in Europe.

I poured over a blog on basketball I found on-line, No Borders Basketball, written by an Australian who had played semi-pro throughout most of his life. It proved to be a rich source of information on the world of basketball for someone like me.

Expect the Unexpected

With writing, like life, you need to expect the unexpected. I love when writing takes you to unexpected places. The characters develop and take on a life of their own. You have to follow that path, much like your children develop their own personalities and make their own decisions, taking you to new places. Following my children, I have been to New York, Cincinnati, Madison Wisconsin, and last year, Belize and Australia. What wonderful adventures!

Writing continues to be an adventure. I wonder where it will take me next?

Where has life taken you that was unexpected?

Wishing all of you happy travels and a Happy Thanksgiving!

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