At about 4 AM last night I was once again awakened by a flood of story ideas, and not just one story idea this time but three. (By the way, I’m NOT complaining. While it can be downright inconvenient at the time, I can find other time to sleep–especially on the weekends–but stories only come when they want to and most often while I’m sleeping so and I’ve learned it’s far better to lose a little sleep than to lose story ideas!)
The first two stories involved water, or more accurately, the lack thereof. (It seems the California drought is weighing heavily on my mind.) The first takes place in the Old West. Two long-time friends become bitter enemies during a prolonged drought. The river their ranches both need for water has shrunk to little more than a large mud hole. There are way too many heads of cattle for the little water that’s left and their cattle are dying of thirst. Something must be done, so they reach for their guns… This may be flash fiction (about 300 or fewer words.) Working title: Desperation
The second story involves a modern-day ranching couple who live on one of those rare places on the California coast that doesn’t have a beautiful view of the ocean and whose land has little value for ranching or farming. There is too little potable water for anything much beyond the needs of their tiny household. Due to state laws, more houses can’t be built on the property. They’ve been thinking of retiring and possibly selling the place, but are afraid they won’t get enough money for it to last them for the rest of their lives. They want to move but are feeling trapped. Then a man knocks on their door… Probably also flash fiction. Working title: The Best Policy
The last of the stories that came to me last night when I was trying to sleep is about a dystopian Earth that has been at war for decades, turning much of the planet into a battlefield wasteland. A battle-scarred man who has lost his wife and best friend to the war is now fighting simply to survive to help keep his three children and the two children of his best friend alive. The odds are heavily stacked against him. This is likely to be a longer story. Working title: Perpetuwar
More ideas are also flowing for Sherrilynn’s Luck, so four story seeds have been planted in the last two days. I hope to make the most of them before the first of April. (Dang, that’s only three days away!) Then I’ll be focused on other things for three or four weeks. Our son Brian and daughter-in-law Kristi are bringing our nearly two year old twin grandsons to visit for about ten days (WAHOOOO!), and April 1st is the beginning of a new quarter. As a self-employed wealth manager, I only get paid once per quarter, and only after I’ve written and sent personalized quarterly letters regarding Clients’ portfolios to them. The personalized results portions of letters can’t be started until the end of each quarter. It is a high priority for me to get those letters out, a task that typically takes me two to four weeks.
So the window of availability is closing at just the moment the floodgates of story ideas have opened. My mercurial muse has a wicked sense of humor!