Saturday, March 2, 2013

Writing From Life

     Every author uses his or her own experiences to draw characters or plot ideas. The great thing about writing fiction is how the writer can change the outcome or tweak a character to be a better person--or a more despicable villain.
    Anything can inspire a story. A freakish heavy snowstorm could be the catalyst to compose a classic murder mystery,  a tender romantic interlude, or a sci-fi thriller involving a yeti and spaghetti.
     Writing from reality has its hazards. Names need to be changed to protect your assets. "Be nice to me or I'll put you in my book" isn't necessarily just a tee shirt slogan. It's Writer's Revenge at its best--as long as the character isn't glaringly recognizable as one particular person. Keep the disclaimer about "resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental" in mind.
     Safer still is using reality for plot lines or starting points. A recent reunion with a friend from summer camp inspired me to compose a short story whose protagonist meets with a long forgotten friend only to realize said friend could be orchestrating a lucrative high stakes insurance fraud scheme. The thieves don't hurt anyone, the people who lose their possessions receive a check when they file an insurance claim...only the big insurance company loses money and who can care about a faceless corporation that basically practices legal extortion anyway? Should she voice her suspicions at all? What if her friend offers to give her a cut? 
     Funny how the imagination can take off in odd tangents from a starting point in reality.

Happy writing!

~Jude


Jude Johnson
Author

Dragon & Hawk, Out of Forgotten Ashes, Dragon's Legacy (fiction)
Cactus Cymry; (nonfiction) Open Books Press

2 comments:

Big Mike said...

Indeed. Actually had readers ask if they could be in one of my stories. Requests have been as a lover, a scientist, a villain. Even had a husband ask if I'd put his wife in as an erotic hooker or porn star (I kid you not).

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Using reality as a base keeps the story grounded and believable. Our imaginations tweak it into something worth reading.