So…I had the idea of an angry, vengeful man trapped in stone for centuries clear in my mind, but when I first sat down to write, it was the heroine of the story, Terah Crane, who spoke to me. I never considered starting the story in any other point of view.
She’s young—twenty-five—and has already made some wrong turns in her life. She has come home to start over. It’s not a spoiler (it happens on the first two pages) to reveal that a flood brings the stone man to her doorstep.
I saw her little house. She inherited it from her grandparents, and it still feels like them. It’s home in the way that smells and memories of younger versions of yourself are home. Also, the sense of family history is such an opportunity to reveal character: who Terah was then vs who she is now. And obviously, time (along with change and stasis) is a theme in the story.
My grandparents (mis abuelos) had a similar little two-bedroom house I visited many times throughout my childhood. The layout of Terah’s house is different, but the sense of close rooms filled with things from my grandparents’ life has always stuck with me. And my grandfather (Abuelo) had a tool shed out back, similar to how this little house has a tool shed. (Note: This is a fantasy world, and Terah doesn’t speak Spanish. But it felt weird to refer to mis abuelos as “grandparents.” My family on my mom’s side is Uruguayan.)
Anyway, the flood and the stone man were not the life restart Terah envisioned for herself. She was already at a low point, and this makes everything so much worse.
First, there’s the problem of the glut of water and all the damage it has done. Then, of course, there’s the man trapped in stone. (I do seem to torture my characters, don’t I?)
But far worse is that one of this world’s gods caused the flood.
I had so much fun creating the gods of this world, and next week, I’ll introduce the god of passion and fury. Do you have memories of a childhood home? Can you recall a sense of the space and the distinctive smells? The foods?