How much truth is in your fiction?
Writers get their ideas from somewhere, but how many of your ideas come from things that have actually happened in real life?
Or, perhaps, the headlines from the newspaper provide you with your ideas? Was it the interaction between two friends who are close to you, or the activities of a coworker that you notice, sparking a new idea? You’re staring at the area around you, mingling with the people that are part of your day without them being aware of the fact you are plotting away..
Do any of your characters resemble real people reflecting their actions and habits? Or perhaps you’ve taken a vacation that was special and are now using it as a center for your work in progress. With little embellishments and slight tweaking, you create a new world for your story from the memories of your past. Most writers create a combination of what they have experienced and what they want their characters to experience. Places, faces, times, memories; a writer can use all or one to tell their story.
For instance, in my Citrus Beach Mysteries, the lead animals are derived from our own family pets. Many of the crazy things that Barney does in the books were things that our Zippy did in real life. In this same series, the town of Citrus Beach is fictional. But because there are so many well-known tourist attractions in the state of Florida is easy to draw reference from those places. I have been able to correlate the fictional location using references to these real places.
The tricky part for any writer is when you try to base your characters on someone you know. You must be very careful not to paint a complete picture of a live person when developing your characters. Instead, more of a fuzzy image is acceptable. From there, you can add your own twists and quirks to the character, making them more unique than the real-life person.
Using real-life occurrences such as kidnapping or bank robbery, or murder is not uncommon for fiction writers. This is often because it’s not the action or the crime that is so important to the writer. Actually, the solving of the case or the building of the sequence of interactions that lead to the final act seem more important to the writer.
The next time, when you read the statement so often found in books about characters and places in this book are fiction, not intended to resemble any live person or place:
You might need to wonder how fictional they truly are.