Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

30 August 2011

Writing from Almost-Real Life

A volunteer position I hold has me writing a lot -- writing letters that answer an assortment of question, though, rather than writing articles, books, or stories.  When I do have time to write "whatever I want to," I sometimes have trouble deciding what I want to!  Ideas come freely when I've got other work to do, but they hide like hamsters in cedar chips when my keyboard is free.

Like most writers, I do jot notes now and again; remembering to look at them, or finding them when I do think to reread them, is another thing altogether.  Then again, sometimes ideas just leap out at me -- from the morning paper, from phone conversations ... from almost-real life.

Here are a couple of examples:

A re/current theme and this morning's subject in Dear Abby is a Midwestern reader's "outrage" at being asked to write her name and address on an envelope at a baby shower, to make it easier for the mother-to-be to send thank-you notes.  This outrages her?  Not wars, not genocides, not child abuse, not violence in video games or the crap on TV, not professional sports salaries, not corporate greed, not floods and famines, but having to write her **** address on an envelope?  Where could you go with that, story-wise?  Consider how to write it as humor, as horror, as sci fi ....

I heard from one friend yesterday that another friend, coming home to New York from a long and tiring vacation (I believe in-laws were involved, and small children), was "too tired" to fill her bathtub with water and make sure she knew where the household candles were.  She hadn't heard about Hurricane Irene, and was too tired to care.  Where could a story go with that?  What kind of an opening scene for a novel could it make?

Right now I've got a few more letters to answer -- but now we all have two more story (poem?) ideas to work with, as soon as we find time to write!

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