Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Spark of an Idea, by Rachael Craw - Author Guest Post

Spark is a leap of faith, a five and a half year journey, a dream and an answer to prayer. Not the sweetly sweetly Sunday School prayer but the creative-type’s fevered cry of the soul, ‘Please God for the love of sanity breathe on my aching neurons’. Cue balled fists and baying at the moon. That night I went to sleep and had a dream, the very dream that you find in the prologue.

I know, I know, starting with a dream! Eye-rolling ensues. What was I thinking? But how could I not when it was the inception of the idea? Cut me some slack. So the dream: I’m running through a forest at night, super-fast, lightning reflexes, strong, fearless and what not. Then I’m gripped with a terrible urgency. Someone is in great danger out there in the dark and I have to reach her before somebody else does, somebody who wants to kill her. I know I will have to fight this somebody in order to protect the girl.

I woke and took it on faith I had my seed of a story. Hallelujah chorus! Naturally I began to ask questions: why was I so fast? Where did my strength, reflexes, and fearlessness come from? How did I sense the girl was in danger? Why was it my responsibility to protect her? Who was trying to kill her and why? What evolved from these questions was the idea of genetically engineered predestination. I imagined an organisation designing human weapons with ‘enhanced’ DNA, their natural affinities amplified. I imagined a process that would trigger this DNA and bind a person to their destiny to either defend or attack their Spark.

For the first few months of working away at my laptop I was a bit cagey about letting on to anyone what I was up to. Being possessed as I was with the idea of my story, I didn’t want to say it aloud. It seemed too fragile. That whole fear of failure thing. Not wanting people to see me try, or worse, see me give up. Of course, that’s all a load of nonsense because I am surrounded by people who are loving, encouraging and supportive and when I started to let slip why I had become a bleary-eyed recluse I discovered a great hoard of cheerleaders. Besides which, giving up was never an option. Even at its crappiest, bang my head on the desk, throw my laptop out the window, burn the house down, gnaw my own arms off moments, I still loved writing, I still loved my story and I couldn’t shake it.

Over the next five years I set my heart on learning to write. I sought the best advice and criticism I could find (Thank you Barbara and Chris Else). I had professional assessments and mentoring and gave myself to the crafting process. Needless to say, that will be a life long journey. I am endlessly dissatisfied with my failure to achieve perfection but I hurl myself after it as though it were just within reach. An intoxicating delusion.

Due to unforeseen technical issues the GIFS that go with this post will be added as soon as possible!

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