Which Came First?
I’ll spare you the age-old ‘chicken or egg’ question. Well, kind of.
My own version of the chicken-egg debate literally sprang up during the past few weeks of desert rains, which brought with them something else. Hornworms. And lots of them.
How many hornworms, you wonder? So many that when I’m running each morning, I have to gingerly hop over them so that they don’t end up stuck to my shins. So many that you can hear them scraping their bellies over the gravelly dirt. Heck, I bet if you put your ear into a patch of them (eww!), you’d probably hear them munching away.
These hornworms actually turn into the stunning white-lined sphinx moth. It’s been compared to a nocturnal hummingbird, because it can hover to suck the nectar of plants and because it’s big. This photo, unfortunately, doesn’t capture the grapefruit-pink underwings of this stunning moth. (You can check him out here.)
So, you guessed it. My question is the same as the chicken and egg conundrum – but also different: “Which came first? The caterpillar or the moth?”
In my personal course of discovery this year, the moth actually preceded the proliferation of hornworms. I found it about two weeks before these buggers started popping up. I have no idea why…
For Writers: This timeless question of the chicken or egg – or in my case, the caterpillar or the moth – really relates to how the universe begins. But I think it also applies to how our novels begin. Which comes first? The plot or the characters? The setting or the subplot? What works for you, writers? How do your stories develop? The same way each time, or differently?