For those of you who haven’t heard me talk about Echoes, I’ll give you some background:
Mary Slessor was a Scottish missionary to Nigeria in the 1800’s. Her story fascinated me for years because the people she worked with believed that when twins were born, only one of them was a child and the other was an evil spirit. Since they didn’t know which was which, they would take both babies out to the jungle and leave them to die. Mary was horrified to learn this, and promptly went work saving, and then raising, the discarded babies. As the people around her watched the children grow up and be normal, they eventually realized that twins weren’t evil spirits after all, and the wicked practice was discarded.
One day when I was resting, I was somewhat absentmindedly reading the titles of books on a bookshelf next to me, and I had a light bulb moment. I could combine my love for princesses, the account of Queen Esther in the Bible (one of my favorites), and the fear of twins to come up with a unique concept.
The ideas spun around in my brain for a couple of months until I had enough ideas to write a plot and start the story. I wrote nearly 53,000 words before deciding I wasn’t doing the story justice and I needed to hold off on it until I’d gotten a bit better at writing. (The story is told by identical twins, and I couldn’t figure out how to make their voices distinct from each other.) It was also around that time that Go Teen Writers, an online writing group I was part of, hosted a contest to see who could write the best pitch in 25 words or less. The administrators at GTW would then pick their top 25 favorites, then let everyone else vote for who got first, second, and third place.
After several days of trying to write a pitch for another story I was working on at the time, until it hit me one day when I was milking our goats that I could use the echoes story. I promptly began jotting down ideas on the whiteboard we had on our milk room wall, and several days later submitted the pitch for the contest.
In a country where twins are outcasts, identical princesses masquerade as one girl – Rylie, heir to the throne. A secret not even their father knows.
My excitement was great when I discovered I was chosen as one of the top 25 contestants, then again several days later when I learned I had tied for second place.
For the next two and a half years I thought about the book often, getting ideas for plot twists and discovering more of who the characters were. It wasn’t until last November though, that I tried my hand at writing the story again. By then the story had become so much apart of me that it flowed out in a constant stream of words that still surprise me when I read them.
Now that I’m planning to pick up where the story left off, I’m a bit nervous, but excited, too. It’s gonna be great seeing where this story goes, plus, I have so fun new plot twists to put into place. Tune back in tomorrow for some snippets.