The Story Idea that Changed My Life
Annie Gaughen – Hingham, MA
Creativity has always been a defining factor of my life. As a middle child and the only girl, falling into stories – either played out with Barbie dolls or between the pages of a book – became the most reliable way for me to be entertained when my brothers were riding their bikes or playing baseball without me. As a teen and young adult, writing became a passion that allowed my voice to be heard. I came to find that stories and novels weren’t so much a planned out construction in my head, but something more basic and primal in my heart, and the first time I really understood that was writing SCARLET.
I had always been obsessed with Robin Hood, and during college I had written a really brief piece about a side kick character that was strong and capable but at the same time very much overshadowed by those around her. These two concepts were floating around in my head until one day, like a locker combination, they just clicked into place, and literally took me over. I was in the middle of writing another novel, and I dropped it. I wrote like a fiend, faster and more intently than I ever had before. Three months later, Scarlet’s story was in front of me, a retelling of the Robin Hood legend from the point of view of Scarlet, a tough, knife throwing girl that history erroneously remembers as Will Scarlet.
SCARLET changed everything for me. It landed me an agent and a book deal, but more than that, it changed the way I approach my writing. Rather than guiding the authorial hand, I collect inspiration like a magpie and I wait; like a tide, the next wave of creativity will come and break open my life to, for a little bit, let my inner voice shine through.