Reality or Fiction

I often use real events as jumping off points for my fiction. News articles and reports about two hunters who were killed not far from where I lived were what started me plotting THE CROWS, and then, just a few years later, the home owner who wouldn’t let the fire department on his land to put out a fire in his barn started me plotting AS THE CROW FLIES. But this week I had a reverse event occur.

For the last year I’ve been working on a story where a 74-year-old woman is attacked by two teenaged boys and instead of becoming the victim becomes the attacker herself.  And
guess what, a few days ago an 83-year-old woman who lives in Rockford, Illinois was attacked by two teenaged boys…and they ended up being walloped by her.

I love it!

For the sake of fiction (and I hope an interesting story), my 74-year-old is going to do a lot more damage to the boys who attack her, and instead of appearing on television the next day, flexing her muscles, my lady is going to deny she was involved in the incident. I have a feeling my protagonist has a much more interesting past than the 83-year-old I saw on
television, but who knows.

As writers we try to make our stories as realistic as possible. For me, it’s always interesting when my fiction parallels reality. It happened in my second romance with Harlequin. I was writing about a small town that I fashioned after the one I was living in at the time. After the book was published, one of the residents, who had read the book, asked how I’d found out about the incident since it had happened long before I’d moved there. I had to
laugh and tell her I didn’t know about it…I’d make it up.

Or maybe I didn’t and just thought I did. My mother-in-law was always talking about things that had happened in the past. Perhaps I simply took a bit of reality and twisted it into fiction.

The ideas for books are all around us. It’s just a matter of taking the idea and forming an interesting story. I’m trying to figure out how to work a story around a boat that exploded here a couple years ago. I’ve seen pictures taken of the boat right after the explosion, heard about the people who were thrown into the water, and even saw the burned out hull. The story’s there…somewhere.

What triggers your imagination?

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4 Responses to Reality or Fiction

  1. My creative brain is triggered by true life events as well. Really interesting that your idea then paralleled into a true happening. Reading about a feisty 83 year old seeking vengeance intrigues me! Best of luck with your plotting.

    –Carol Ann

  2. For me, it’s the conflict that starts me thinking. I wonder, “How would I deal with that kind of problem?” And then a character is created. Someone strong enough to deal with the problem, but not without a few pitfalls. The bigger the problem, the stronger the character!

  3. Diane Burton says:

    News articles will often trigger something. The story may start out with a similar premise but it soon morphs and my imagination takes over. Fun.