Saturday, January 16, 2010

Writer's Life

Saturday, January 16

Today I wish to comment on another aspect of a writer’s life: his life’s experiences. I have always heard that we as writers write what we know. In some ways, I know quite a bit. The question here would be ‘do I know enough material to build a book that would capture a reader’s attention?’

Granted, most of my life does not revolve around an action packed adventure one may see in a movie or read in a good novel. But there are times when we may experience events that could inspire our imagination to build a good story.

Usually, days or weeks or even months pass without anything exciting happening. Then there are those few days that everything cuts loose. Events of the last couple of days should provide a segment or two for an interesting soap opera.

Disclaimer: Names of characters and locations as well as specifics of the situations have been changed to protect the author from being chased down and beaten to death by those who participated in said events.

Event one: Martha is tired of her friend Barbara taking advantage of her. She helped her friend finance a vehicle as well as provided services to help Barbara’s business venture. Martha is struggling to keep her head above water financially.

Barbara’s business is very dependent on her customers needed her cleaning services. Yet, every time she gets into a position where she can build her business, something steps in and disrupts her ability to keep steady work. Last year, the economic downturn caused many of her customers to drop her services.

Now, that Barbara had finally got her business built back up, Martha gave her an ultimatum – give up the vehicle or pay off the note on the truck. Martha will not budge on her resolve. Barbara does not have the funds but needs to have a vehicle to complete the job.

In steps a third party who has interest in both women. She is asked to step in to help pay off the note so that Martha could get some financial relief and Barbara could still have a vehicle.

What follows is a game of telephone tag between all parties. The situation has yet to be resolved to either person’s satisfaction. The third party got a different but compelling stories. Each person have her/his problems that they do not see nor do they want to hear the reasoning behind the other’s explanation.

Event two: A friend called to tell you that she just found out that her daughter has been picked up by the local sheriff’s department with two of her friends. The deputy in the case claims that the girls tested positive for drugs and he smelt marijuana on them.

Yet, when he takes the girl home to her mother, the girl explained that she just met up with her friends. They walked toward one friend’s house to get a basketball to play a game. The sheriff deputies were hunting for someone else when they stumbled across them.

The authorities claimed that they found a small baggie of marijuana alongside the road that one of the girls threw down. The deputy claimed he smelt marijuana on all three girls’ fingertips and decided to take them in.

Again, the third party heard two different but compelling stories that could make since. There are times that the author believes that both the girl and the authorities do stretch the truth. The girl placed a spin on her story to make herself look innocent, and the authorities attempted to get a confession from one of the girls by telling them that they failed a drug test.

In both events, the author heard both sides of the story. This showed me, the author, an excellent example of point of view. All arguments sounded plausible but came from each individual’s point of view. In a novel, I believe I could build a story using the contrasting elements that these examples showed to build a better and more interesting story for the reader.

In the above cases, I recorded facial expressions, a person’s reaction, the location description, the sound, the smell, the voice tone, and other unrelated events that occur. All will provide additional depth for a future writing project.

Have you come across an event in your life that helped you in your writing life? Let me know.

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