Where Do Writing Ideas Come From?  by Guest Blogger, Theresa P. Pierce 

About ten years ago, as a Curriculum Coach, I met children’s writer and curriculum instructor Lester Laminack. Over dinner, at the Wrenn House in Salisbury, NC, he taught a room full of educators how to inspire and instruct student writing. It was a great place to meet because it had been an academy in the 1800’s. The Wrenn House had been home to many of Historic Salisbury’s ministry candidates and leaders. 

The Wrenn House is under reconstruction as part of The Historic Bell Tower Park. (photo credit: Aaron Kepley) http://www.rowanmuseum.org

Now, I am working on a manuscript that takes place in that very spot. 

The day after the meeting with the teachers, Lester Laminack addressed an auditorium full of excited children who had read his books. The children squirmed in their squeaky chairs until the long anticipated author stepped on the stage.

  When their visiting author spoke, they sat up and listened and so did I.  

We had read his books, Saturdays and Teacakes and The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins. The children held treasured autographed book copies on their laps. 

Mr. Laminack told us about his writing journey. He suggested we start keeping a journal. He encouraged us to draw pictures and write down funny stories that included people and places. Now in 2020, I keep my notes on my iPhone, but the documenting is the same. 

Over the years, I began to think about writing a story about Historic Salisbury and Rowan County. I kept prolific notes that (I hoped) would one day be part of my historic fiction manuscript. As I led tours that included the Wrenn House and other historic sites,  my first attempt at writing a middle-grade novel began.

Lester Laminack inspired me to journal. This led to creating characters and then their stories began to take on a life of their own. I wanted to write a novel about Salisbury that would inspire students to appreciate their local history. As a result, I have now started a prequel and sequel to Up Dunn’s Mountain that include other historic sites. The stories keep coming and includes other places in North Carolina. 

Are you thinking of a place that will lead to a story? Start a journal and see where it goes. 

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Up Dunn’s Mountain won first place for Young Adult Literature at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference.

7 comments

    1. Up Dunn’s Mountain is an unpublished manuscript that I am continuing to edit and improve. Thank you for asking and for the inspiration.

  1. I enjoyed this trip down memory lane from the perspective of a fellow writer and educator. I had the privilege of working with Theresa Pierce in a writers’ group, as well as having known her as a teacher in our work environment. I look forward to seeing where Theresa’s depth of historical knowledge will lead her as she crafts historically grounded tales to teach and entrance young people while they are utterly unaware that they are absorbing American history as they time travel via her engaging yarns.

    1. Thank you, Carolyn, I still remember your vivid writing! A wise friend once said, “When you are having fun, you are learning.” I have fun with history!

  2. Thanks for encouraging us to journal. That’s a great idea for sources. I think I know a few interesting places in my area, like a covered bridge. Hmmm.

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