Making a living with writing is tough. To hone my craft I became a feature writer for a small newspaper and interviewed some of the most wonderful people, who all found unique ways to live their lives. For example:
- A 104-year-old woman who decided to start riding a motorcycle.
- A seventy-year-old woman who learned to fly a small plane.
- A retired airplane engineer decided to build replica hot rods and sell them.
- Many, many lovely seniors utilize their creativity to help others - quilts, clothing, hats and gloves.
This is a short list of articles written about people. Ah, people. To me, that's the key to a good story.
Authors can utilize people they know or have seen as prototypes. What did they look like? What did they wear? How did they smell? How did they talk? One of the feisty ladies in my two novels is the image of an instructor I had in college. She floated into a room, her bangles tinkling, her long hair in a braid or bun, her long skirts skimming the tops of her leather sandals. Her grace and physical presence inspired me. Whenever Regina speaks in my story I visualize Dr. Konek. If I hadn't taken a class from her I might have seen her in the bookstore or on the street and still she would have captured my imagination.
The Annabelle character is a compilation of many women I've known, my grandmother being the main one, and she lives and has adventures that my aunts and I have had in the kitchen. Flour everywhere, salt being substituted for sugar in a recipe (yes, it happens) and the ultimate response when tasted. Cherries can be spit quite far.
Whether you have a large family or small there are episodes that will no doubt find their way into stories. Verbal ones or written, it doesn't make a difference. Make it real for the listener or reader. Share your living with them. Share your humor with them. Share your feelings with them. It's what makes story "real."
And don't forget to enjoy the adventure.