Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Read the newspaper

It is amazing how many story ideas you can find out there by simply reading. Now before you go diving in on this one, I think I need to clarify my comment.

In no way am I suggesting to just lift a story from the newspaper in the exact format and run with it in your own fictionalized attempt. What I am talking about is to take the concepts that you hear in the story and work with it.

We really don't need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to character development. There are a lot of pretty unique people out there in real life. All we have to do is to sit back and watch.

As someone who did a lot of theatre (BC Before Children) I would frequently go to the mall and just watch people. If I played an older person, I would watch the people out there that were in that same age bracket. If there was a personality of some sort that I wanted, I would watch people that exhibited those same characteristics.

The key is to really watch and listen. Don't just limit yourself to the words these people say, work with the behaviors, vocal patterns and the like.

I am one of those people that truly believes there are a ton of great NEW stories out there. The key is to find those combinations that really make it work. We may be writing fiction, but it is still based on reality.



  1. Scott,

    I really needed this today! I'm in the process of 'adapting' a story from an historical item I came across accidentally and this gave me all the encouragement (permission) I needed. The characters are already out there. The trick, for me, seems to be translating them to the page---much like a painter. Even though there are likely no new conflicts, betrayals, or creative schemes that haven't been tried in some form, there are NEW ways to use them and combine them. By using lifted elements from true and/or historical sources, you lend much more realism to a story.

    Thanks again!

  2. Good time to ask the question again. I too am writing a historical romance based on a real event. In reading about a similiar book getting a lot of advance publicity, (The Wet Nurse's Tale,) I repeatedly hear to it referred to as a "neo Victorian," which is apparently an exciting new form of women's fiction. But what the heck IS it> How it is differentr from any other HR romance set in the 19th century? I assume no one else konws the answer either. Okay, it is the hot new ticket, BUT, what is the thing?

  3. Anon,
    I have to say, this is the first time I have heard that comment. I think a lot of times, authors and publishers will do their best to make their writing stand out by using a term that makes them unique. Neo-victorian, IMHO is simply a Victorian trying to do something that is normally seen in standard historicals.
    I think a great analogy would be those people who were writing Regency set historicals instead of Regencies. This allowed them the chance to do things out of the standard formula.