Why Withershins?

Question # 3

How did you get your idea for Withershins? Was it from a dream?


Actually, no it didn’t. The idea came from an experience of mine when I was 18. I was hanging out with some friends, one Friday night, in a gnarled old tree that grew in the graveyard at St. Andrew’s Church. It was a very cool tree with low-lying branches that were perfect for sitting on. Anyway, we talked about all sorts of things until one of them looked at his watch and realized it was getting close to midnight. He mentioned hearing about this urban legend about running around a church at midnight, that the ritual sent them to the Netherworld or they met the devil, neither of which I really felt like doing. On the other hand, I didn’t want them to think I was a spoilsport, so I agreed to try it. I ran most of the three circles around the church, but chickened out before completing the last one.

When my writer’s group and I were discussing ideas for another chapbook (a self-published anthology of short stories) I told them about what I had done. One member said the ritual was called the widdershins. An editor later told me that withershins was the British term for it and since other books were already published using Widdershins, I decided to go with the British term instead. My group all agreed, it was a great idea. Then I had to figure out what would happen to my character after she completed the withershins.

Getting back to the dreams, though – once I had the idea for the story, my dreams took over and guided me onward until it was finished, with the odd trip to the library, the internet, the archives, or Lower Fort Garry itself to get the background information I needed. I would then go to bed thinking about where I had left off and by morning, I pretty much had the next five to ten pages in my mind when I sat down at the computer. There were times, though, when my dream exploratios led me to do more research because I wanted my character to do something that I needed to learn first.

I have written many other stories, though, that began as a dream, so I do rely considerably on my dreams for story ideas.


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