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Posted by Val Fox on April 19, 2014 at 3:45 PM

The following photo prompted a flood of images and questions recently. That's often how a story begins. Then an idea might form.

                 Source: Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB

Historical fiction e.g. the photo of boys and a map indicating the tribe had travelled as far as Texas.

The questions began. This is only a few of them.

Is the map accurate?   Who would know?

What if it was true?   When did they go?   Why did they make the trip?

Who went on the trip?   How did they travel?

What were the risks?   How did the land, wildlife and people change along the way?

How long did it take to travel that far?   Who might know these stories?

Can I find answers in books or from academia?

I'm drawn back to the boys old photograph: More questions.

Were they old enough to make the journey?   Who were they?   What was their status?

What were their expectations?   Were they ever afraid?

How and what did they eat?   Did they miss their families?

Did they all get along?   How did they deal with disputes?

What's important to this story?

Begin with an active, visual point with one or two of the main characters. Write what I know, research what I don't. Ask for help with accuracy from knowledgeable sources. The goal would be to tell a story about two boys that travel with a party of scouts or raiders in 1892.

While in Texas three young boys travel by night heading south as far as they can go. They are to return with a report of their findings.

More Questions.

Did the boys make it to the Gulf of Mexico?   What did they discover?

Did they follow a vision or a right of passage into manhood?

Did they return to the others?   What conditions did they face?

Bad weather?       Wildlife?       Hunger?       Accident?

Attack?         Insects/snake bits?          Disease?

Encounters with people?   What people?   What happened?

More Questions

Did the scouting party return home to their relatives?   What shape were they in?

Did the community run out to greet them?    Was there a song?

Were there any missing?   How did the families express their grief?

What animals did they return with?   Did they have new tools or rifles?

Did any of them sport new regalia?

The story is revealed as we answer the questions.  It all begins with the questions.  Thanks for visiting today!

The Letter "Q."

tags: how to write a story; story writing methods; brainstorming; when the story writes itself; creative writing process; where does story inspiration come from; getting to know your characters; authenticity in historical fiction; writers process  

Categories: Writing/Photography

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This is the personal website of writer Val Fox from Alberta, Canada: soon-to-be published author; freelance writer/editor; ghost writer; animal and child advocate; amateur photographer and avid camper.  Welcome!


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