Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Bit More on Where Ideas Come From

I wrote a post recently about how different my life was from those of my characters, but I have a bit more to say on the subject.

A writer friend, who truly helped me along the way, recently wrote to another writer friend that most fiction writers based their stories on what happened in their own lives. She is not a mystery writer and that holds true for the fiction books she's written. I know her well enough that when I read her fiction I knew she had drawn much from her own life.

In my case, though I have used incidents at times that really happened, once I've written it into a story and rearranged and changed it, no one would ever recognize it.

Some of my writing ideas pop into my head unbidden--especially right before I go to sleep. Some I remember, some I don't.

Like many, I read about something that really happened and then think about it and ask, "What if it happened this way instead?" And off I go from there.

I've had people tell me about a crime that happened in their family and though I used it, as I wrote, to fit it into the plot I envisioned, everything changed.

And I can tell you with all honesty, my life is not as exciting as Tempe Crabtree's. I've never been in law enforcement, or solved an actual mystery, I've never seen a murder victim--thank God--though I have seen people who have passed on. (Certainly not the same thing.)

As I often tell people who ask me how I know about certain things--I've lived a long time and had enough experiences to know how people react when things happen. And, you can find out anything on the Internet.

And yes, despite it being holiday season, I am getting some writing done.



Morgan Mandel said...

You never know when an idea might strike. Some stick around, and some vanish, only to be remembered years later.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Your life is full enough as it is. Knowing how efficient you are, I can well believe you're getting writing done, even this time of the year.

Merry Christmas!

Maggie King said...

I'm getting writing done as well. More now than ever. Go figure.

Most of my stories are based on real events, but heavily fictionalized. No one's come after me yet! But my first short story, "A Not So Genteel Murder," is not based on anything I've experienced or heard of---I made it up out of whole cloth.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. This has been an extremely busy time for me. And I'm sure for the rest of you too.

Jackie Houchin said...

My ideas usually come out of the blue... or from some little thing I have just seen or heard. An animal, a color, a bit of music, a Bible Verse, a friend's comment, a heartache or shame from the past. Suddenly it's just there! I recently (after reading Acts 9 in the Bible) thought of "Peter's No's" (not nose), and BINGO, I have another Missionary Kids Story for Children - it's about a play they will put on for... their parents? their neighbors? their Sunday School class?
See what I mean?