What do you do when something as seemingly unimportant as a shawl materializes in your mind and tells you it has a part to play in your story? It not only knows the place, it shows you. It leads you to the exact scene, and as it settles in, tells you of its significance going forward. Only a fool would ignore that bit of genius intervention! So, I listened and paid attention.
It happened when I was working on Chapter 38. Jenna casually grabs it on her way out the door for a walk on a chilly night in Scotland (along the North Sea). It’s a beautiful, plaid shawl…wool, in shades of brown and tan, with a deep red for accent. Could be a MacKenzie plaid, but that’s not paramount to the story. It’s a generous size – one you can really wrap yourself in, with fringe on the ends. (The one I have attached to this blog is for illustrative purposes only – the one Jenna borrows is much softer and prettier.)
This shawl isn’t a character; it’s more of a prop, really. There are lots of them in my story. There has to be, in order to present a physical world that readers can immerse themselves in and become part of. There’s furniture, animals, food, clothing, books… the list goes on and on. There’s Dunnottar Castle, the North Sea, and New York City. Sure, the last three could be considered settings, but there are items embedded into those locations that make them come alive on the page – stone, wind, waves, traffic, bakeries, etc.
So, back to the shawl. It was a great, descriptive action for Jenna to take as she walked through the foyer. The shawl was hanging on a hook for visitors at the B&B she’s staying at to use if they need a little something extra to wear, then return when they are done for others to use. So, Jenna does just that.
Then I got to thinking about the rest of the story and how the shawl might play a more significant role (actually, the shawl told me in strictest confidence, so I’m sworn to secrecy). Jenna doesn’t know anything about it, but the shawl and I have it all figured out. I love it when that happens, and I think Jenna will be pleased.
Until next time…
Image credit: Anne K. Hawkinson