Writing Is Hard Work

Musings of a Hard Working Writer...

  • Roger Colby

How One Artifact Can Launch a Novel

Welcome to Madill

My dad passed away a little over two years ago.  He was born in 1939 and graduated from high school in 1958 from Madill, a little town in southern Oklahoma.  He grew up around Ravia, Oklahoma where he and his brother and twin sister farmed and worked hard for most of their lives.  Dad never went to college, giving up a dream of being a veterinarian to eventually find work at the Western Electric plant off of Reno Avenue in Oklahoma City where he stayed for 28 years and eventually retired when it was owned by Lucent Technologies.  The plant sits vacant now.

Dad, however, came from a long line of pioneer people, and in a box of small odds and ends left in his room when he passed was a small brass star with the imprinted words “U.S. Marshall, Indian Territory“.  With a little digging, involving interviewing family members, searching the internet and consultation from a local Oklahoma historian (Kent Thompson), I have discovered that the badge probably belonged to my great grandfather

or great uncle and that this humble brass badge may have been worn on the shirt of a man who brought in some of the most notorious criminals in the history of the post-Civil War west.

This gave me yet another idea for a novel, and after much research and consultation of experts and family members I shall pursue this when I finish with the current projects I am slavishly scribbling.  Who knew that a small piece of metal found in a shoe box beneath my father’s bed would produce such material for an exciting novel…or series of novels.

My question posed to you is this:  What do you have lying around your house or attic that could spark a story?  Take a look around, go to your grandmother’s house and have a long chat about her past, or discover what might have occurred on the street where you grew up.  There may be a novel in there somewhere.


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