Stories have a way of possessing us and taking over. We start reading a good novel, and before we know it, we are five hundred pages in and don’t want to put it down. We ignore food and drink and TV–we have to finish the book. When it’s over, we wish it wasn’t, and look to see if the author has other books like that one.
We enjoy the mature product, which was a long time in coming.
Stories start small, like a seed, or better yet, a baby. Both begin with a dream, parents of little ones, authors of novels. Parents make notes on names and imagine what their child will do when they get bigger. They imagine what the first words will be, where the first steps will happen, and so on.
Authors’ imaginations are full of beautiful images—of the story and the glory following the publishing. Like the baby, the story grows in the womb—the creative womb of the author. The author thinks about the story, procrastinates over when to start it, jots down story notes, stares at the blank screen and blinking cursor, and wonders if it will ever come to life.
All the while, the story grows in the mind of the writer. Soon, it is so large; it has to come out. The delivery day is here. The author starts typing. Words fill the screen. Scenes take shape. Characters evolve and grow. Plot points fall into place. Line after line, day after day, the story matures. Before anyone knows what has happened, the novel is finished. It is edited. It is formatted, and it is out of the author’s hand like a child leaving home for college or career or marriage.
At this point, doubts set in. What if no one reads it? Will the story live to see a long life? Thankfully, something magical happens: someone buys it. They read it, like it, and recommend it to friends. People get lost in the tale. They want more, and the cycle starts all over again.
Conception, birth, maturity, adulthood. The cycle of life and the cycle of writing stories.