I’m a writer so I see the world a little differently from… let’s say doctors, teachers, mechanics, reporters and politicians. Everyday I may hear or see something that may end up in the pages of my novel. Sometimes, I wish I wore a baseball cap that read, “Be careful because I write drama.”
Wow, I wonder if that warning would even work. Some people may become leery to say anything to me for a day or so then my cap will be forgotten and once again small secrets and idiosyncrasies will be revealed in personal interactions. That’s one of the BIG reason why I love writing. There are times when funny things happen and you just want to capture it in a way that transcends re-telling the story for the umpteenth time on a cell phone conversation or in an email.
I can think of a couple of things that happened today alone that will end up in my novel because people provide a wealth of material. Is it hard to work a main job and write on the side? Yes, but it’s the personal interactions of my main job that makes my writing shine. It also challenges me to get my scenes just right. There’s nothing more frustrating than to have a very funny situation happen in real life and not be able to capture the moment perfectly in writing. As you can guess, I have much respect for screenplay writers because they strive for that real-life feel with every scene they develop.
Now, I have a lot of friends that tell me I have their permission to use parts of their lives in my novels but I’m not a reporter. Yes, I may take a small universal fact that they shared and then smash and torture it until it doesn’t look anything like the story they gave me because my characters are living their own lives in the pages of my book.
Hey, that reminds me, have you every played the Sims game? It’s a computer/video game where you create a ‘Sim’ and the world they’ll live in. In a lot of ways the ‘Sim Creator’ (the player) is a good comparison to how writers feel when they are busy working on their stories. The only difference is that sometimes the characters drive the story instead of the writer.
I remember when I was writing a scene in South Beach with Laila and her best friends, Sofia and Marina. I knew how I wanted the scene to end but I didn’t know how I was going to get my characters there. It wasn’t until I was typing their dialogue and watching their interactions that THEY showed ME their wit, frustrations, vulnerability and ultimately the way to end the scene. The writing was fun and authentic because it held nuances of my own interactions with my friends and gave their friendship more depth.
I love my characters so if you find yourself in my presence and I get a silly grin on my face while you’re talking it’s because I can’t wait to dramatize what you revealed. Hey, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
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