If you live in the Pacific Northwest you might recognize WOTR as the writing conference held each May in Wenatchee, WA. WOTR is celebrating a ten year anniversary this year. I remember when the first writing contest connected with the conference required that the short piece of fiction or non-fiction was required to begin “By the River.”
I worked hard to make my contribution begin with the designated phrase. It was difficult because I had to contrive the story and move it around. I did not like being forced to use the phrase. I’m sure it was meant to inspire and give each writer a starting point. Obviously I did not win, but I did take the written response seriously and did not give up.
I must give credit to the author Nancy L. Turner who wrote a novel inspired by her great grandmother’s life. It was exactly what I wanted to do, so I converted my little non-fiction piece to the beginning of historical fiction inspired by my great grandmother.
I worked, I began again, I entered a first page contest and then began again. Finally my little book is finished, published with a beautiful cover, and containing my imagination of my great grandmother’s life. Readers of historical fiction write nice reviews and I look at it and wonder how I ever came to title it BY THE RIVER. Go figure!
Better yet, go read it.