A Free Write and a Glimpse into the Process

kitties 2 editedAbout a week ago, we had some time to kill in my writing group, and we decided to do an impromptu exercise. One of our members gave us an opening line, and we wrote for 10 minutes. The following was my result. Whether or not it turns into anything longer remains to be seen.

The kittens were the first to sense it coming.

Mango’s orange fur puffed out, her tiger-striped tail swished, and the black spot on her back arched upward. Chutney crouched low. His green eyes dilated, and his paws spread, unsheathing sharp claws that gripped the carpet beneath him. Mango growled. Chutney hissed. I turned my head toward the window.

“Shh…” I cooed at the kitties who were my only companions at the moment. “Easy now. Let’s not panic.”

I thought of calling Ray. He should be in his room at this hour. I didn’t want to wake him if he was sleeping. I knew he had an early day at the conference where he was presenting his paper on the failings of The Dark Knight movies.

No, I wouldn’t bother him.

Outside, the outlines of the trees whipped side to side, and the wind beat the metal chimes into a squealing frenzy.

“Maybe I’ll just check the storm windows,” I said to the cats that were still in their battle stances, yowling at me to “Do something, lady!”

Rising from my favorite spot in the recliner by the fireplace, I grabbed a crutch, settled it under my arm, and hopped toward the windows. When I reached them, I shrieked and fell onto my butt. There was a face on the other side of the glass.

Not the worst thing ever for 10 minutes. If I were to continue the story, I’d stay away from making it scary – at least not at this point. Maybe it’s Ray at the window and this could turn into a sweet romance. Or maybe it’s the neighbor’s dog, and the kittens will go to war with him. Or maybe, I don’t know…dragons.

I heard or read somewhere today (not for the first time) that people often ask where authors get their ideas. Well, there it is – it starts with an image or a line and stories just kind of evolve from there. That’s the easy part, when the imagination runs wild. The work comes after you get the ideas out and you have to craft them into something.

If I ever decide to take this to a conclusion, maybe I’ll post the finished product.