Question: Where did you get the idea for this story? Was it just your own experiences?
While my experiences litter the book throughout the idea and the book itself evolved, while quickly, from a completely different place.
One night, while continuing to try and find God’s purpose for all the talents He’s given me, I started trying to think of what they all had in common when it hit me that it was film making. Something I’ve not only always had a passion for but also something that all my various interests and talents would work well for. I then prayed for God to show me if He wanted me to be a film maker.
In a Hollywood style twist I was instantly flooded with a scene that was so powerful and so meaningful I knew it had to be written. The scene was the accident that is in the book.
Now the scene in my head was amazing and would play out perfectly on screen. As it was coming to me, it was obvious it was the climax as well. While I didn’t get up from bed to write it down since I had to be at work the next morning I did start thinking of what would surround this scene. I saw this being a 5 to 10 minute inspirational short that could be shown during a church service.
The next day I did have time to write and write I did. I had an idea of scene progression and started working towards the powerful climax that had been given to me. The pages poured out and soon I realized this was not going to fit into a 5 or 10 minute short. This was at least going to be 30 to 40 minutes by the time I got to my ending that was in my head.
Well that actually excited me even more that it was flowing so easily so I just kept going. I kept going so fast that the next day I had 30 pages of script and I was at the scene of the accident. I wrote it and then reread it and immediately thought it was rubbish.
You see, my biggest goal in writing that short and the book itself was to make a well written inspirational story that was NOT cheesy or predictable. The climactic scene that I’d had in my head two nights before did not fit this criteria and was not coming out as the ending I had felt.
I stewed over this for another couple of days. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t powerful either. Eventually I felt the need to do something drastic with it. The story was still good I just needed to figure out this whole ending problem. I decided to write a story out of it. It would probably be a short story and I could release it to anyone who wanted to read it. I’d figure out the ending and then I could go back to writing a script for it.
Well, I started the story and it flowed out of me even easier than the script had. Pages upon pages of really good writing just poured out of my heart and my soul. Before I knew it this was going to stretch into a novella which once again excited me. Until, that is, I got to that scene again.
The accident is inevitable. It is the turn around for Jillian. A wholly spiritual experience that she ponders over and has to decide it’s meaning. Originally, in my head, this all takes place IN that scene but after writing it a second time and still not feeling it was as powerful as it had been I realized I needed more. Not more to the scene, but more to the story. That accident couldn’t be the ending because it WAS a turning point and nothing was going to be so definitive or quick and be a good story or even believable.
That’s when we get into the hospital and more and more started coming out. The ending took a life of it’s own and I struggled to fit it all in because it overwhelmed me emotionally. The process, the book, the story itself, and all the memories and feelings I put into it had consumed me and acted as a cathartic emotional cleansing that left me unsure and empty inside. But I knew one thing, the story was powerful. Not only did I feel it but that’s what others told me as well.
The idea started and ended with God and I’m proud of what it became.