What Inspired Me to Write My Book
by Stacey J. Mitchell
My book, Red Threads, was inspired by a blog post I wrote during the 2012 A-to-Z Challenge. If you’re not familiar with the A-to-Z Challenge, it goes something like this: for every day in the month of April (apart from Sundays), you write a blog post on a different letter of the alphabet. You start with A on 1 April and work through to Z, which should be posted on 30 April.
Many people decide to write their blog posts on a theme, and this was something I chose to do. The subject I had selected was mythology: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Native American. I’ve always been into ancient history, and my degree is in Egyptology, so Greek, Roman, and Egyptian were all easy choices for me. But those awkward letters at the end of the alphabet such as U, X, Y, and Z had me stumped. After a little research, however, I discovered that the Japanese and Chinese mythologies have concepts that fit those letters perfectly, so at the last minute I chose to also write about those cultures.
On closer examination, I found that they also had some interesting myths fitting other, less tricky letters of the alphabet. Consequently, my post for ‘R’ was a Chinese concept, the Red String of Fate, which wasn’t something I’d heard of before April 2012. Basically two people who are destined to be together (soulmates in Western cultures) are connected by a red thread which runs from the ankle of one to the ankle of the other (or little finger to little finger in Japanese mythology).
As soon as I had finished writing this post, I realised what a fascinating concept it was, and I started thinking about how I might use it in fiction. Imagine if, for example, the red thread of fate didn’t just join two soulmates. Perhaps it could be used as a more general indicator of someone’s fate, connecting one person to the most important person in his or her life at that time (not just romantically).
I could write about a character who could see these fate lines, but didn’t understand what they were. And then maybe the concept could be developed even further, to show that fate is a huge part of the world. Not only are there beings who help to guide people through the biggest events in their lives, but there are evil entities who are intent on stopping humans from fulfilling their fate, and are therefore trying to create chaos in the world…
As you can see, one thought led to the next and I got a little carried away. But the more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I planned out the novel outline over the summer of 2012, and decided to write the first draft for NaNoWriMo in November (National Novel Writing Month, where the challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days). I finished the draft in early December, began editing and rewriting in January, and the finished product is now ready.
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Genre – Contemporary Fantasy
Rating – PG13
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