Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Spark

You've probably noticed people on writing blogs everywhere sharing their stories of how they got the spark to write. After reading several on Tuesday, I decided I wanted in on the SparkFest. (Do you want in? You still have one more day. Click here to go to Christine Tyler's post.) So, to join the nearly 100 writers blogging about their spark, here's my story.

I loved books and read all the time as a kid. It NEVER gave me the spark to write, though. Not even a little bit. (It did, however, give me the spark to be a book illustrator, and I honestly thought I'd grow up to do that. Many years later, that spark sputtered, fizzled, and eventually died.)

My first inkling of a spark came in 2007, the summer the 7th Harry Potter book came out. I read the series for the first time and got to the point in book 6 where SOMEONE IMPORTANT DIES. I was struck by how powerful a thing it was that J.K. could create someone who didn't exist before, let me get to know the character, love the character, then experience the pain of losing that character. I wanted to do something that powerful! (Not powerful as in I wanted to be the next J.K. I was never that naive. Powerful as in having the ability to create people. And then possibly killing them off. ;))

A couple weeks later, I got my chance. As a group of eight friends, we buy birthday presents for each other, and one friend's birthday was coming up. A friend who is THE WORLDS BIGGEST FIREFLY FAN. I think she has single-handedly gotten more people to watch Firefly than FOX Network themselves did. I talked my friends into getting together to plot and write the previously non-existent episode 15, filling in the space between when the series was canceled and when the movie Serenity picked up.

It was, without a doubt, the most exhilarating thing I had ever done. We breathed life into a character that hadn't existed before! We created places that hadn't existed! We made things happen!

I was forever hooked. I started writing then, and haven't stopped since.

So what gave you your spark? Did you join the Spark Fest? If so, leave your blog address in the comments. I'd love to read it!


Jessie Humphries said...

Maybe I will get on the spark bandwagon with you tomorrow if there is still time. It is neat reading about others inspiration. I never heard of Firefly! But I am glad you did, because what would I do without you?

Leigh Ann said...

Okay, that Firefly story totally rules! I wish I was nearly as cool as you are.

I don't have so much a spark story as a survival story - Writing TT was the only thing that kept me sane with 3 kids under 4 years old at home. :)

DRC said...

My friends keep telling me I MUST watch firefly seeing as I loved the film Serenity. It's on my list of things to do.

My spark, I think, was caused by by imagination as a young kid. We weren't rich when I was young, and so couldn't afford any of the cool toys that I wanted, so I took the toys I did have off on mini-adventures. But that wasn't enough and I started to come up with more adventures that my toys just couldn't handle. They were lightweights, you see. Because of this, I just had to write them down. I started my first novel aged 10, finished a year and a half later, and the writing just hasn't stopped.

Shilpa Mudiganti said...

My spark was in 2005 when I realized all the stories that I make in my head need not be lost. I can write it down and keep it safe. I started with freelancing non-fiction. Now I can only write fiction. Interesting meme...

Jenny S. Morris said...

Oh, I LOVE your story. I feel the same way, I want to create a character that people fall in love with.
I have heard about Firefly from all the Chuck blogs. Most diehard Chuck fans used to be diehard Firefly fans. Adam Baldwin acted in both. That's so cool that you guys wrote that final episode.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Jessie-- There's totally still time. You just have to have your spark story posted by tomorrow. I'd love to hear yours!

And WHAT?! You've never heard of it? Firefly... Greatest TV series ever created... Ring a bell? Let's just say that there's a reason Firefly Fans (a.k.a. "Flans") are so dedicated. There's a reason why there are Firefly conventions. There's a reason why they made a movie of a tv show that got canceled after only 14 episodes. There's a reason people watch every show that every Firefly character acts in. There are reasons why we bow down to its creator, Joss Whedon. There's a reason why the Internet is filled with Firefly merchandise and fan art. YOU WANT TO KNOW THOSE REASONS. Trust me.

Okay. I'll stop ranting. Let's just stick with Go watch it. You're life will be better because of it. :)

Leigh Ann-- I totally understand needing the saneness that writing brings. But whenever I hear of writers writing with lots of little kids at home, it completely amazes me! I seriously don't know how you accomplish it.

DRC-- You should bump it higher on your list. :) I'm just sayin'. And I love stories of people starting to write so young! That's amazing! And I laughed at your toys being lightweights. Awesome.

Shilpa-- Awww! I love that you write so they won't be lost. To keep them safe! It's totally true, of course. I've just never heard it put that way before and it makes me happy. I'm thinking that way from now on, too.

Jenny-- I think it's all about the characters. When I read, I want to fall in love with them! It's a great thing to shoot for.

And I guess that explains why I'm a die hard Chuck fan. :) Adam Baldwin is the greatest.

tammy said...

Dang. I knew you had fun writing the 15th episode, but I didn't know it had the impact that you describe! I had a little cold-chill experience when I read that! Best birthday gift I've ever received!

Since we all know that someday you will be a famous, published author, I think we all owe it to Joss for inspiring your Spark. In honor of that, we should all re-watch, (or watch for the first time for any Firefly Virgins out there) the entire series again, which sadly, will only take about 10 hours.....I own three copies if anyone is interested. Or look them up on Netflix! Seriously. There cannot be too many Flans!!

Oh, and bow to Joss for including The Spark in one of my all-time favorite Buffy episodes as well. Whenever I hear those words I think of Spike!

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

Peggy, that's quite a story. I suppose my desire to start writing was in high school. I was reading Edgar Allan Poe stories, and I wrote a horror story--I think it's the only one I've ever written--and handed it in to my English teacher as an assignment he gave us write stories. He read my story in front of all his classes. Needless to say, I was hooked.

kjmckendry said...

That's a cool way to get a spark!

Tara Tyler said...

o no you di'nt!
ooooo, can i read it? pretty please?
love firefly, crazy good show!
cant believe it ended so quick.

Abby Fowers said...

First off...every time I come to your blog I am loving your awesome cookie-ness :) Yes, I just made up that word. Cool right? ;)

Also - glad you are doing the sparkfest! It is EVERYWHERE! This story is fascinating and probably one of the more interesting ones I have read! So cool. Glad you got that spark!

Kaylee Baldwin said...

Thanks for telling me about the spark fest! That sounds like so much fun what you and your friends did :) Group writing is usually hilarious.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Tammy-- Yep, it was totally my spark. And then after the spark it was Pivotal that made me want to BE a writer. (All hail Joss.) And it was the best present I ever GAVE. Every time I look at that Firefly picture and people comment on Firefly, it makes me want to watch it all the more! And the theme song keeps running through my head. It might have to happen sooner than later.

Richard-- That story gave me goosebumps! I would've been forever hooked by that, too.

kmckendry-- I thought so. :)

Tara-- Oh, yes I did! ;) Yes, crazy good show. And the reading it... Since it was co-written by six others, and is owned by a seventh, I don't feel like I have the authority to pass it on. But I will say that Book's past was revealed. And he may have said that he doesn't have any grandchildren, and that he never married, but that doesn't mean he didn't have a son...

Abby-- Awww! Your comment makes me all kinds of happy! I'm glad I got the spark, too. Later today, I'm going to have to go check out some more spark stories!

Kaylee-- You should join the sparkfest! It's tons of fun. Come on... Everybody's doing it! And it was totally fun. We had a blast!

Mark said...

Oh, yeah...Firefly! Shiny...very, very shiny:)

M Pax said...

Ooo! I love Firefly and I still miss it. Siiigh. Nice meeting you :)

Carrie Butler said...

Peggy, you had me at Firefly. <3 Great post!

A.M.Supinger said...

That's such a cool story! Awesome post :)

Bethany Crandell said...

I was always a writer but never considered novels until I read the TWILIGHT series. I thought, "Geesh...THIS got published?!" I enjoyed the books, don't get me wrong, know :)

The Writing Well said...

Peggy thanks for joining me at the writing project. I am so honored. I missed the spark fest:( But enjoyed reading everyone else's spark on your blog. My eyes are gorging on your cookie blog, love it. Will visit back soon.

Let's see my spark was reading all of Sarah Addison Allens' books. I loved them and simply started writing.

J+S said...

Wait, what is this Firefly series? Is it still on? Is it fantastic?

Peggy Eddleman said...

Mark-- That got a hearty, appreciative laugh from me! :)

M-- Me, too! Sigh.
And nice meeting you, too!

Carrie-- Yay! Another Flan! Isn't it the best?

A.M.-- Awww! Thanks!

Bethany-- That's awesome it inspired you to write novels! In my opinion, there's nothing better to write. :)

The Writing Well-- I'm glad I did! And thanks for joining me here. :) And I love that a single author can inspire a lifetime of writing in another person. So awesome!

Jenifer-- Yes! The Firefly series! No, sadly, it is not still "on." (Although it is still "on" Netflix. :)) And yes, completely fantastic.

Laura S. said...

Hi, Peggy! First of all, I love the title of your blog and your banner! I would be thrilled to receive chocolate chip cookies as payment for my writing too, LoL!

Reading set me off! I loved reading and books so much that I couldn't get enough. So writing my own stories game me more!

Have a great weekend. :)

Jeff King said...

Like a billion people out there: J.K Rowling set me off; her spark still shines with me today—and probably will for the rest of my life.

After that it’s Brandon Sanderson, and, Stephen King.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Laura-- First, thank you!! Second, I love that it was reading that gave you your spark! I was working with a fourth grader who HATES to write, but has his head in a book every second he thinks he might be able to crack one open and not get caught, and he goes through books at an amazing speed. I told to just wait... After reading that many books, some day he'll get the spark to write one. He didn't believe me, but I think it totally gives the spark!

Jeff-- JK did it for me, too. It'd be interesting to see how many people in the world she influenced in becoming a writer. And Brandon Sanderson sent me on my writing way in a HUGE way. I owe him big time. Long before I knew him, I read Mistborn. When I closed the book, I just went, Whoa. That was unbelievable! He's amazing.

Christine Tyler said...

How amazing! What a wonderful time with your friends. I remember my first time reading Harry Potter fanfiction was the summer the fourth book came out. I was so desperate for the story to continue, I read stories from authors who picked up at book four and "finished the series!" One of those authors is Cassandra Claire, who has now published her own books!

Very cool. Love this spark. Also, cookies?! Yes. I love this blog.