When I wrote my first short story, shortly after I started blogging in February 2014, I never gave much thought of where the idea for the story had come from.
However, I remember the moment the story came to me and, since then, I’ve never really talked about it a lot. Why? Because it could have been the visit from a ghost that gave me the idea.
There I was, ironing the third of seven shirts, and up walked Grace Simmons demanding that I write and publish her story on my blog.
Are the characters in our fiction the ghosts of our imagination?
Somehow, Grace had managed to get her story into my head and, within seconds, I’d abandoned the ironing board for the keyboard.
An hour later, I’d written Grace’s story, published it on my blog, and the first comment had come in. Smiling, I thanked Grace, who had long disappeared to wherever it was she had come from, and I returned to the ironing board wondering if I’d just been visited by a ghost.
Who is Grace Simmons, and what is her story?
Grace is a character from, Last Train To Aldwych, the first story in my book, Glimpses.
What I’m not sure about is whether Grace Simmons is a ghost who visited me. I can’t say I physically saw her, yet the image of her is firmly embedded in my mind
About the story.
A journey on the London Underground takes Grace Simmons to an annual encounter with a ghost she always meets at Aldwych Station on the same date every year. However, with the prospect of further meetings never being able to take place, Grace must ensure that this final meeting is one where she and the ghost will never part.
I’ve often wondered if the story was born from an idea, an experience, or if I was just lucky enough to have stumbled upon it. Then again, was it told to me by the ghost of Grace Simmons?
Grace’s story has not only had some wonderful reviews, but it is the story that went on to launch many more short stories from me. My readers loved the story and encouraged me to write more.
Where do lost ideas end up?
I don ‘t know about you (and I hate to say this), but many of the ideas I get for blog posts and short stories find their way to the ‘Door of the Forgotten.’
Why? Because I fail to write them down.
Within seconds of arriving, an idea can be flying towards that open door, with me failing to pursue it. In this modern world of technology, you’d think that should never be allowed to happen, yet it still does.
Many of the other short stories in my books came to me from ideas I’d get after reading writing prompts, participating in writing challenges, or by looking at photos.
Even reading comments on a blog post can spark off ideas for short stories and blog posts. Some come to me within seconds, whereas some ideas can take weeks to reveal themselves.
The mystery of Grace Simmons.
To this day, Grace Simmons remains a mystery to me. When asked, I still cannot answer the question ‘where did the idea for ‘Last Train To Aldwych’ come from?
For those of who not familiar with Aldwych, it was a station on the London Underground from 1907 until 1994.
When I sit down and think about it, one of the first things that come to mind is the number of times I had walked past Aldwych underground station in London.
The office I worked in was a few minutes walk away, and I’d often visit the station at lunchtime to buy a cheese and pickle sandwich.
Just inside the station was the sandwich kiosk that, to this day, made the best cheese and pickle sandwiches I’d ever tasted.
I’d enjoy talking to Margaret, the lady that owned and ran the kiosk, and most weekdays we’d catch up on our daily lives while trying to put the world to right.
It was a sad day when the station closed and even more tragic that on my way back to the office that day, I lost Margaret’s phone number.
On the evening of 30th September 1997, by the time I realised I’d lost the piece of paper she’d written her home phone number on, Margaret and her cheese and pickle sandwiches were long gone.
I tried many avenues to find her, but all to no avail.
The mystery of Margaret’s disappearance is as much a mystery to me, as where the idea for ‘Last Train To Aldwych‘ came from.
Then again, did those daily visits to Margaret plant the idea for the story deep within my mind, only for it to resurface into a story many years later?
Margaret had, after all, told me stories about her and her family and how they would shelter in Aldwych underground station during the blitz of World War 2.
The following film was shot on the day that the last train to Aldwych actually ran. Can you spot Grace amongst the last passengers who made that journey with her?
Have I, at last, solved the mystery of ‘Last Train To Aldwych‘?
You can read ‘Last Train To Aldwych‘ in Glimpses, my first collection of short stories.
Click here to buy a copy.
Where do your ideas for blog posts and short stories come from? Share them with us in the comments.
This was a guest post originally published on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. It has been edited and updated since its first publication.
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