Monday, February 21, 2011

Living Research

How many times have you been in the middle of something major in your life, and thought to yourself, "Gee, this would make an interesting story"? How often do you act on that and go sit down and write your story?

While I'm no memoirist, and have actually yet to read a memoir (I've got one on my Kindle--I think,) there are times when odd things happen to me and I think it would may make an interesting addition to a story, or a story in and of itself.

With my son having been in and out of the hospital so much in the last few months (we had #4 admission last week), I find myself pondering what I've learned by being at the hospital.

Let's get one thing straight: I absolutely HATE hospitals. Up until I was 25, I'd never been admitted to one. The only reason why I ever have been is due to having babies (or complications thereof). I avoided hospitals like the plague.

Maybe not the best strategy for a mystery writer. Look at all the research I missed out on.

My son's condition doesn't necessarily mean that my experiences lend themselves to mystery writing. He's hardly been rushed to the hospital, a victim of a stabbing, shooting, poisoning (and let's hope he never is!) But, the anxiety of not knowing what's going on, the waiting, hoping that my son will get better... that's something I can draw on as a writer. Even though I try to take everything one day--sometimes one hour--at a time, and I don't worry in the traditional sense of the word, I understand.

He's never been in serious enough condition that his life is hanging by a thread, but I can understand better now how the parents of a child with leukemia may feel. And, even though I have no plans anytime in the future to write about something of that nature as a topic (at least, not in a novel format), I do feel that the experiences I've had as of late will make me a better writer.

When you get right down to it, all writers draw on their own experiences. You have to. Especially when you're writing fiction. Fiction is about an experience, whether bad, good, or ugly.

You tell me: what was the last real life experience you used to draw on for your writing? It may only be related by a smidge, but did it help you write a more believable scene?

Until next time,


Sheila said...

In my last novel (that I'm revising), I drew on one of my son's experiences as a scuba diver. He had a near fatal accident. Scary thing for a mom--grist for the writer!

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