Here’s a quick introduction to how A Silence Worth Breaking came to be.
In Silence, the main character, Annaliese Emmerick, learns in a dream that she has ten thousand words left to speak before she dies, and she must decide how to navigate her life in light of this news. Though the opening line of the novel and indeed Annaliese’s primary conflict came to mind in–what else?–a dream in August of 2013, shaping her character actually goes back to the spring of 2006. My then-girlfriend, now-wife, was up visiting me for the first time (we met on MySpace of all places!), and at one point during her stay I got sick and basically couldn’t talk for a couple days. I vividly recall one moment where she and I were sitting on the floor of my kitchenette. I wasn’t able to say anything so at one point I started writing her notes. Sometimes she would write back, sometimes she would respond verbally, but my unique and uncomfortable situation forced us to have to find slightly unusual ways of communicating.
This got me thinking about the kind of struggles Annaliese might have as someone who chooses not to talk much. What methods would she use to try to communicate with others? What problems would that pose for her? What problems would that pose for the people around her? Would she go radio silent for the rest of her life and run off all her words when she’s ninety and just wants to end it all? Would she find a way to live her life more intentionally through the careful use of her words? And how on earth would a person handle being given a proclamation like this?
The premise seems so simple and yet so big, and that moment in the kitchenette that feels like it was forever ago gave me the frame of reference I needed as a jumping off point for making this story happen.
So that’s my story, but there are others from my fellow Pitch Wars mentees you should have a look at. Check out these writers’ tales: