Sticking to the Story

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in All, Story A Day, Storytelling, Writing

I thought I might end the Widgets Landing stories last week, but they just. kept. coming. My kiddo, aka the Widget,  got interested in what Mommy was doing with his toys, and I started telling him some stories. He’s my best, and worst, critic.

Full disclosure: I started watching the epic Dr. Who series this year, and it’s hard not to want to write a relationship-centered, time-and-space-travel story of my own. And I’ve been a sucker for science fiction all my life, from a childhood watching Star Trek and Buck Rogers (don’t hate), to binge watching Battlestar Galactica and Firefly as an adult, and reading my share of Sherri S. Tepper and Octavia Butler in between. The potential to actually travel in space has become much more real since the days of Erin Gray in spandex, but I have no interest in leaving the planet. Time travel on the other hand… that could be awesome.

And so, the week of stories in review. This time I’ve chosen to share them in story order, instead of chronological by creation date.


Alba Farmer, the victim of the break-in to her hut, is also a gifted horticulturist. Here we see her in her favorite environment.



Alba came off a bit rough in Harold Investigates! We learn more about why she came to Widgets Landing in New In Town.


I introduced a new species into the story, inspired in part by the Guardian op-ed, “Why are white people expats while the rest of us are immigrants?”  I wondered if the colonists at Widgets Landing saw themselves as expats or not, and how they saw themselves in relation to the indigenous people, or other immigrants. That line of thinking naturally made me wonder who else might be on the planet.

At the same time, my kiddo started asking about “noses with feet” (seriously, I can’t make this stuff up), and the Nasals were born. A highly-sensitive and intelligent species, the Nasals stay far away from most humaoids, but eventually come to Widgets Landing despite themselves, attracted to the smell of Alba’s lemons. They will be key players in upcoming stories.

The biggest challenge was the “with feet” part. To keep their nostrils off the ground, feet seemed necessary, yet looked wierd. I prefer the hovering nose myself, though the Widget adamantly prefers the insect legs.


The Nasals visit Widgets Landing. A hand-drawn installment of #StoryADay.


A photo posted by Gin Ferrara (@ginferra) on


Once the Nasals have a lemon, they research what to do with it. And where do we do our food-related research? Pinterest, of course.



I develop more of the story with the help of the Widget. I tell him stories in the car on the way to and from preschool. His insightful questions helped shape the bigger mystery of who ransacked Chevron and Alba’s hut, and what might their motivations be. I tell some of this in Saturday’s Harold Gets A Clue


Though there are only 7 colonists, the relationship in Widgets Landing are rather complicated. I drew out the main characters, identified their main connections (friends and more), and also determined some of the gender identifications that I was confusing in my head (of course, I respect the rights and freedoms of all members of Widgets Landing, humanoid, android, nasal, and other, to love who they want, and to identify their own gender, but as their writer, I kinda need some notes to keep track).  


Harold Gets A Clue – we return to Harold’s investigation of the Farmer’s break-in, when he finds his first substantial clue.

And that’s another week! I miss the true life storytelling, so I’ll probably spend a little time in my own storyline this coming week. But I can’t leave Harold hanging, with so many clues to uncover. See you soon.


1 Comment

  1. Pat halle
    April 1, 2015

    Loving these. Sitting in my van ( aka white whale) laughing and smiling at guilford and federal streets celebrating April fools’ day with the widgets