Reblogged from TRSA:
Every writer has deep-seated motivation for writing a novel. It may be a person, place, or setting that resonates in their soul, and from this a story that won’t let them go. I was tentative when I began writing Mourning Dove, and by this, I mean to say that I tested the waters before I dove in head first to the full story. Mourning Dove started as a poem I never shared, but I liked its subject and rhythm. It spoke of a family dynamic, had movement and spoke of human nature in the face tragedy. In writing the poem, it occurred to me there is beauty to be gleaned in the worst of human affairs.
In one of those intuitive promptings that seems fateful in hindsight, I saw an online call for submissions to the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conferences’ contest. In looking at the categories, I thought narrative nonfiction might be the least entered, therefore giving me a better chance at placing. I looked at the wordcount requirements, titled my submission Mastering Ambiguity, and used my poem’s first stanza to begin my 3,000- word submission telling of a family story. Two months later, I received word that Mastering Ambiguity was a finalist in that contest, and, being as it is that I live in Southern California, I made arrangements to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference, where the contest’s winner would be announced. Mastering Ambiguity didn’t win that year, but it did come in as the contest’s runner-up. And the thing is, when I entered the auditorium where the winner would be announced, I told myself that if anything ever happened to my piece, I’d turn it into a full-length, Southern family saga. Confident, now, that I had a good story, after the conference, I went to my desk and got to work.
Continue reading at The Story Reading Ape