It is nice when you can get into a writing zone and just write page after page effortlessly. The other day I was in a research zone. I had a short blurb about an incident that seemed like something out of Disney’s Apple Dumpling Gang.

So I started looking into the story. I got very little information at first. I kept running into dead ends with my typical places that I check. Then I started checking the U.S. Census for the names in the story and things started breaking loose. One name led to another and another. I was able to track the names down in old newspapers.

Before I knew it, I had lost a couple of hours when I had only meant to use the time for both research and writing. However, now I’ve got a story that stretches over three generations of a family from a single mother who supported her family by becoming a successful merchant to her soldier son who followed in her footsteps only to have his store blown up to his musically talented daughter who was driven to suicide.

It will definitely be a different story than I imagined, but it will be a better one. While fiction needs to make sense when you plot it, that’s not always the case with real life. That’s what can make it so interesting to write.

To see how the story turns out, watch for my Looking Back column in the Cumberland Times-News in November.