Ever wonder where authors get their mojo? The magic powder that they sprinkle over their keyboards filled with secret codes only they can decipher? Well, you may be in for a surprise. That muse you see them welcome every morning along with picking out their lucky cap is all rolled into one truth.
It’s all fiction folks!
There is no magic to what we do. Only hard work with a hefty dose of inspiration and that can come from any number of sources. For me, it seems, to mostly come from a physical place. Setting is so important to my writing life. Once I have my setting figured out, I can usually roll out the story.
Recently we were with friends in Ripon, Wisconsin and they showed us an old building they are considering buying. The top floor had been boarded up since the forties. It felt haunted to me. Lonely and forlorn, creepy. Filled with possibility. It was once a grand space. There was a small stage in one area, another room had a huge covered-over rectangle that could have been a skylight and the possibilities started stacking up.
My imagination bounced off those peeling walls and I could see and hear and imagine. I was filled with story.
And yes, the characters that bring life to a novel, for me, are based on real people. Any author who says otherwise is making it up. Honestly.
When I teach writing, or even offer up my two-cents of how to get your novel going, I use baking as an analogy to creating story. You need a bowl (setting) and the ingredients (characters) to add in just the right measure. Then it has to rise and become something else (conflicts) and be punched down (more conflicts) and then baked and sliced and enjoyed (resolution).
With a whole, hell-ova lot of cool shit to keep things interesting!
There. Now you know how it’s done. Any questions?