Reality in Writing

Now Brewing: Basement Brewhaus Sassafrass: This sweet blend of peppermint and chocolate is good for a morning wake-up, with its minty fresh taste. It also reminds me of Christmastime spent eating Andes Candies by a roasting fire. There’s an Andes factory in my hometown, Delavan, so I’m partial to these decadent chocolates.

After a very productive weekend consisting of cranking out seven pages for Second Shots, my novel and a much needed Sunday Fun-day of reviewing and revising; my novel has unfortunately hit the back burner once again. 

The 10 page short story for my English 253 Creative Writing class, due Sunday night, needs more attention. Apart from having NO IDEA what I’d like to base my story on, I cannot seem to get my “Second Shots” characters out of my mind.

Sometimes I wonder if they’re really characters at all, or  just alternate versions of people from my own life. I wonder if they are influenced by people surrounding me and talking to me, in real life. 

I’m not alone in this feeling. I’m joined by my uncle, a creative prose writer, and even Jodi Picoult, one of today’s most prolific novelists. Picoult jokes on a frequently asked questions page on her official website: www.jodipicoult.com, that she’s the “world’s worst friend” and that telling her something is fair game to come out of one of her character’s mouths later. This is something that happens to me a lot. I find myself listening to conversations in the  Basement Brewhaus, where you can often find me typing away on my laptop), or even being in a conversation and thinking to myself, “Hey that’d sound great coming from so-and-so.”  I found it inspiring to read Picoult writing the same things that I’ve thought have made me weird or creepy, in the past. Picoult writes,

“Usually I draw a plot out of thin air, but pepper the book with real-life conversations I have had in different contexts.”

Looks like I’m not the only one stealing friends and family members and shaping them to fit the bodies and mindsets of my characters in Second Shots. Jennifer Weiner, the author I mentioned in my first post has similar thoughts on the matter. On her  frequently asked questions page (www.jenniferweiner.com) she says,

“many of my ideas spring from my day-to-day life, and then get exaggerated, embellished, and sharpened.”

So I guess for now, my mixed line of reality friends and novel characters is okay, as long as I call myself a writer.

“It’s okay, I’m an author” is going to be my equivalent to drinking lots of cheap alcohol and saying, “It’s okay, I’m in college.” Because yes, I’m still under-21.

English 253 calls though, and I finally have an idea! My main character is going to commit a HUGE mortal sin, and disobey all 10 Commandments.

On the next post I’m going to address the first three Tips for Writer’s on Weiner’s list “For Writers.”

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter as well! There’s a nifty orange box with a cute little bird on the side of the page for that!

Thanks for reading!

See you all again soon,

Kathryn E. Weast

One comment

  1. Stealing dialogue from real life makes it more realistic and believable, I’d say! 🙂

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