Have you ever noticed how life’s little accidents can send us reeling in a whole new direction? And sometimes even reshape our lives?
For me it was a knee injury that changed my focus from bodies in motion to the written word. Not to mention a guy I met years ago when I was one of those people who swore I’d never get married.
Same goes for a good story. I love following characters through a novel, watching them react to the unexpected in ways that force them to grow and change. Often resisting or making bad choices or discovering a whole new path.
Which way would Scarlett O’Hara’s life have gone if Rhett Butler hadn’t shown up? Or if their child hadn’t died? Of course the Civil War came into play for a major turning point.
But sometimes it’s a small, seemingly meaningless event that begins an avalanche of change. Othello’s wife drops her handkerchief. Uncle Billy absent-mindedly wraps a newspaper around the cash he brought for the bank deposit.
Or a character steps in a direction they think is meaningless. Like that governess job Jane Eyre reluctantly takes.
In “Snow Dance,” my story for the WG2E Winter Wonderland Anthology, Amanda, a war-weary veteran of the Broadway dance world, takes her settlement from a bitter divorce and moves out to the rural eastern tip of Long Island to retreat into solitude and spinsterhood. But her safe little plan is joggled after she meets a sexy local fisherman, a troubled teenage girl and a pesky ghost. A blizzard serves as a catalyst for my protagonist and two secondary characters to face turning points they might not otherwise see or accept.
While complete in itself, this short story is also a prequel for the novels in my Dance ‘n’ Luv series. The teenage girl grows up to play my heroine in KISS ME, DANCER, the first book of the series. Her brother will be featured in book two, and hopefully my readers will get a kick out of seeing the turning points that influenced the paths taken by these characters later in life.
Winter Wonderland on Amazon
It’s Your Turn, WG2E-Land: So, what kinds of path-changing events influence the characters in your stories? How about in your real life?