By John W. Vander Velden

I write fiction, and at times I wonder from where my stories and characters come.

Imagination is an amazing thing. It drives new thought, new ideas, and moves our race forward. Imagination is the central location for fiction’s growth. My fiction comes out of my imagination. So fiction might be called fantasy…and it is, even though fantasy is a specific genre’ within the fiction spectrum.

I use the disclaimer “in this is a work of fiction…”, all references to…“reality” is purely coincidental. The reality includes people, places, and events. And that is true, as far as it goes. But I believe that all fiction grows from “seeds” of reality. Misty Creek is set in the American frontier of the late 1800’s, a place that existed. But as far as I know my Misty Creek did not exist…I made it up. But I shaped it by what I had seen or read of the land that existed at that time. You see, I used the seed of reality to grow a new place, a new situation, new people…and a new story.

Writers are in some ways an “odd lot”. In other ways they are just like everyone else. They move about like anyone. It would be difficult, most of the time, to pick writers out from a crowd of people. They are ordinary people…sorta’. But writers, particularly fiction writers, continually jump from the reality that surround them into imaginary places of their creation. They watch someone buy a magazine and picture another person in a very different time or situation, buying a magazine. The seed of reality becoming something else entirely.

Careful what you say or do around a writer. If they’re worth their salt they will notice. You are offering seeds they might use in the growing of another story someday.

And not all the seeds used are acquired by conscious effort. Years of living have provided me with a treasure trove of subconscious “seeds” that flow through my fingers and into my stories. My past makes up a veritable warehouse of “seed” waiting for me to draw out one packet or another.

But I feel that fiction is more than “just” fantasy. I feel that fiction presents reality in its own way. Revealing truths through events that haven’t really happened…at least not exactly the way I tell it. I want my stories to be something which the reader can relate to. I want the reader to say…”Oh that character reminds me of Uncle Mitch,” or “I would have told that guy off when he did that,” or “I’ve face that too.” The greatest thing I could accomplish, would be to have some part of my stories connect with the person turning the pages. It would be the place where fiction reaches within and offers a reality not known before. It is a high target I shoot for…a high target indeed and likely well beyond my abilities to hit. But does that mean I should not draw back the bow? Does not lofty goals require not only hope, talent, and effort, but also the desire for the attempt?

So I take my feeble GOD given talents, hone them as best I am able, and seeing the prize take my best aim. For if I am to use my fiction to reach the hearts of those that foolishly search within my words for…something, then I owe them the best I have.

(571 Words) 8–5–2017



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John Vander Velden

an avid reader and life long story teller, who approaches life with open eyes, hearing ears, and a heart willing to feel.