I often wonder just how much real life other authors put into their books. I had a writing friend ask me recently if my heroine was anything like me. At first I said no. That would mean she was extremely boring. LOL But after thinking about it for a while, I had to admit there is a lot of me in this character as well as a lot of what I would like to be in her as well.
I use real life situations in my books too. It might be something from my past that influenced my mood or feelings or it could be something I’ve read or watched. I must add the “read or watched” part to ease my mother’s fears that I was terrorized as a child by a dark stranger chasing me in the night. :) I have no idea why I would rather write a suspenseful story rather than a nice calm cozy love story. It’s just what I like. It doesn’t mean anything. Right?
Watching others is another way I collect information. Let’s face it. What better way to bring life to our characters? Sitting and studying those around us at the mall or at a restaurant is a great way to pick up a trait or funny habit and give our characters to create that three-dimensional feel. I try to be discreet and smile politely when getting caught.
The information I’ve observed in my neighborhood alone could fill several books. Think a spin off from Desperate Housewives on caffeine. Real life is, in fact, stranger than fiction sometimes. They can all rest easy though. I won’t be writing about these situations anytime soon. Changing the names wouldn’t help conceal much at this point.
The local newspaper is a wonderful resource for storylines too. I just keep the clippings for future reference and wonder where these people come up with the stuff. They should use there time wisely. Maybe write a book instead of putting their dirty laundry on display for the world to see.
And how about the reality shows? From the Bachelors to the Criminals. Wow! My mind is swirling with ideas just thinking about it all.
How about you? Does real life affect your writing? Where do you look for inspiration?