Story Ingredients – Finnegan’s Valley

You’re probably wondering what Finnegan’s Valley is. It, um, might be the story idea I got over the weekend.

Ah, imagination. Us writers are never without it, and because we’re never without it (except for when we’re actually asleep, unless you get your ideas from dreams), a new story idea (or two…or several) will sprout like a seedling.

Over time, and by ‘watering’ the idea by paying attention to it and writing test bits out, more ‘ingredients’ (I usually call them ‘elements’) will be added to the story–maybe a romance here, a happy-go-lucky comic relief there, and with just a dash of bravery over by the vengeful dragon sulking in the corner.

Also over time, as you write, you’ll realize that some ingredients just aren’t working for this specific story. Luckily, unlike in real life, you can take ingredients out.

Sometimes though, all the ingredients work. They pull together a story that draws people in.

And then there’s times when a wrong ingredient or two ended up staying in, resulting in a story that…well…let’s not go there.

Currently, this is the ‘recipe’ for this story:

  • Marriage of convenience
  • Heroine with trust issues
  • Hero patiently waiting for her to trust him
  • The Great Famine/Irish Potato Famine in Ireland from 1845-1849
  • Time period is roughly late 1840s to early 1850s
  • Immigrating to America
  • Moving West
  • Sickness, injuries, and a bunch of other obstacles
  • Ireland
  • Irish folk songs
  • Romance (Because it’s not really a marriage of convenience story without it, right?)
  • Dramatic moment of realization (AKA “He/she really truly loves me!” or “I really truly love him/her!”) (Also this is the perfect score for it, because honestly)
  • Someone has an old injury that didn’t heal right
  • Soft moments with a father and his baby daughter
  • Tragic backstories that are the reason why this person won’t do this specific thing
  • Death-defying moment (maybe during the climax?)
  • Learning to trust (BINGO THAT’S THE THEME RIGHT THERE)
  • Fiddling!!
  • (Wow I didn’t realize how long this list was)

Mix ’em all up and you get this:

Reluctant to trust anyone, yet desperate to escape her father, a young Irishwoman accepts a marriage proposal from a near-total stranger planning to immigrate to America to escape the famine.

All those ingredients may be in FV right now, but like every other story, it doesn’t mean they’ll all be in the final product, if there ever is one.

Guess I’ll just have to write it and find out.

Tell me your thoughts below! How long is your ‘recipe’ for your newest story idea?

2 thoughts on “Story Ingredients – Finnegan’s Valley

    1. I’ve already got some scenes in mind…my favorites so far are the realization of love and tender father-daughter moment ones.

      Also, I should include a link to the soundtrack I’m making for it too!


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