Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Inspired You To Become A Writer?

As a child, I watched my father read a thick novel each evening and wondered what he found so intriguing about it that he could finish the book in a day or two. I, still reading children’s books, was curious and had to know the secret of the thick novel. I decided I'd give one a try. I found a novel titled MAN-CHILD IN THE PROMISE LAND and couldn't put it down.

This book was something my mother wouldn't have approved of for my age, so I read it in secret. I loved that book and I was hooked!

At fifteen, my family drove from Buffalo to El Paso for my sister’s wedding. For the many long days and hours in the car I read GONE WITH THE WIND. I really loved that book and became a Civil War fan because of it.

Many years and hundreds of books later, I came to the realization that I too could write a book. And so the long journey began. . .

I’d love to know what inspired you to become a writer. I find people’s lives so interesting and would be honored if you’d share your beginning as a writer with me.

Where Does Your Plot Inspiration Come From?

Where does the inspiration for the plot of your stories come from? Do you pull it from the headlines, television shows, movies or books you’ve read?

I watched a commentary where Helen Fielding, the author of BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY, confessed that she drew her inspiration from, and based her book upon, Jane Austin’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. The end result? Two separate stories with the same powerful emotions. Not only did we viewers of Bridge Jones find ourselves comparing classical to contemporary fiction, but also drama to comedy. And it worked!

I’ve been moved by powerful scenes in movies. We all have. I took one emotionally charged situation from a movie and saw how I could portray those same emotions with the protagonist of my story. Two different stories with uncommon situations, yet both characters struggled with the crippling emotions of guilt and fear. And yes, it worked.

What about you? Have you taken plots or emotions from movies or novels and adapted them to your characters personalities?

Do You Use People You Know In Your Stories?

I like to use traits from people I know but only traits. I want my characters to be unique individuals. What happens is I observe a specific character trait in someone I know and find that the trait would be perfect for one of my characters.

In fact, I put a bit of myself in all of my characters. Understanding many of my own strengths and weaknesses makes it easier to create characters that are more believable. Yes, even the villains. After all, isn’t there a bit of villain in all of us? Don’t we all sometimes wish we could do what our villains do?

What about you? Do you use yourself or people you know to create your characters?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How Do You Begin Writing Your Story?

I begin my novels with a question: Who killed whom and why? I’m not sure why I begin this way, but so far it’s worked for me. Once I have the killer and his/her motive established, the story logically wraps itself around the murder with all the clues and actions leading to the discovery of who killed whom and why.

Does this take away from the main character and her dilemma? Absolutely not. In fact, the solving of the murder becomes directly related to the main character's plight.

I understand many writers prefer to begin their stories with a main character or a specific setting. I suppose the best way to begin is the way that feels most natural to the writer.

What do you think? What is your preferred way to begin writing a story?