by Connie S. Hall
The Wikipedia encyclopedia says, “A snowball is a ball of snow, usually created by scooping snow with the hands and compacting it into a roughly fist-sized ball. The snowball is necessary to hold a snowball fight.”
It continues, “A snowball may also refer to a large ball of snow formed by rolling a smaller snowball on a snow-covered surface. The smaller snowball grows by picking up additional snow as it rolls. The term snowball effect is named after this process.”
Snowball effect was what happened this year on February 10 when the students of Michigan Technological University rolled a twenty-one foot snowball making it the world’s largest snowball ever rolled.
When a writer gets an idea it can also have a snowball effect as one thought followed by another idea can continue to grow. It’s a lot like rolling a snowball down a hill. Sometimes my story doesn’t go very far, and other times it gets bigger and bigger as my ideas grow. The faster I write the larger the story gets.
I love history, and read everything concerning the past that I can get my hands on. My favorite story concerning snowballs happened on the Monday evening of March 5, 1770, about 9 o’clock when the pelting of British soldiers with snowballs led to The Boston Massacre, which sparked the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and thirteen British colonies. Thirty or forty lads gathered in King Street. Soon Captain Preston and his soldiers came pushing charged bayonets trying to drive the people off. The young lads in the crowd threw snowballs. When this happened the Captain commanded the soldiers to fire, and more snowballs came. He again told them to fire. One soldier did fire and a fight broke out. More soldiers fired and when it was all over three men laid dead on the spot, and two more were struggling for life.
I can picture those ragged cold boys from the colonies as they threw their snowballs. This time it wasn’t a snowball fight with their friends, it was to help drive the British soldiers away. I admire their courage and foresight in fighting for our freedom. I’m sure they had no idea the effect this snowball fight would have on their country and posterity or that they would drive the soldiers out who massacred their people.
Writing is also like throwing snowballs – once you get an idea a new one will come, and then another thought will surface. The more things you think of the more ideas keep coming. As I sit down to write my mind wanders to many different ideas as though someone is pelting snowballs at me. I wish it would spark a fabulous book right onto the shelf of some store. Since that probably won’t happen I’ll just keep catching and typing the snowballs thrown my way.
I have files of good ideas that I haven’t used yet, and it keeps getting larger and larger. Everywhere I go I collect new thoughts to add to my growing stash. I hope every writer out there has a similar place to keep all the snowballs thrown their way.