by Ruth Douthitt
Do you think of inspiration as solely divine? I do, except when it comes to my current work in progress.
I was inspired to write my current mystery/thriller for kids by giving a spelling test to 6th graders.
Not what I consider to be divine influence, but whatever works! And God is sovereign over everything.
So, how did a spelling test inspire me to write an entire book? Let me tell you the story…
At the school where I teach, for spelling tests we are asked to state the spelling word, and then use it in a sentence, and then re-state the word. Sounds pretty easy, right? It is! But this particular day, I noticed something about the spelling words. They seemed to tell a story: A ghost story about children under the ice of a frozen pond.
Or maybe it was just my strange imagination? Either way, as I stated the words along with the sentences, I noticed a story forming. And so did my students. They loved it! By the end of the spelling test, they were asking for more details into the story and how it would end. That gave me motivation to write it all down. Now my story is about a boy who discovers the ghosts of the children under the ice and decides to solve the mystery behind their deaths even if it costs him his own life.
That was back in 2005 and today my story is completed. Of course, I wrote two other books in the meantime, but it feels great to finally have finished this “spelling test” story. I can’t wait to send it out to literary agents.
I find it interesting how writers are inspired to write. Bible stories, my son’s life experiences, my own life experiences, sermons, songs, and movies have all inspired me to write my books.
What has inspired your current work-in-progress and why? I’d love to know.
As a writer and a teacher, I make sure I can explain the inspiration behind each of my stories so my readers and students can know more about the message behind the story they are reading. This creates connections. It’s those connections that create bonds which make your readers want to read more of your work.
It isn’t always easy to remember the inspiration behind your work, but in doing so, you just might learn a little about yourself, too. I learned that I was good at making up intriguing stories after I gave that spelling test. I also learned that inspiration for a story can come from anywhere. Lastly, I learned that writers can form a unique bond with their readers just by sharing the inspiration behind their stories.
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. ~ Neil Gaiman
Author, Ruth A. Douthitt, lives in Phoenix, AZ. In 2004, she completed The Dragon Forest which was picked up by OakTara Publishing in 2008 and released in April 2011. Ruth is currently revising book 2 for OakTara and will begin writing book 3 of the trilogy this summer.