This week's Q: If you write it, will it come? Have you ever noticed your real life taking a turn that's uncannily like something you've just written about?
For me, the more likely scenario is that something that’s already happened in my life gets turned sideways and winds up in the book. Nothing uncanny about it, merely a writer’s desperate means of sucking up every available experience to see what can be repurposed for the next book. It’s never a quick turnaround, or a complete one, or one that’s entirely planned. Jokingly, I told my S.O. about ten years ago that I’d have to kill someone who was bugging him. It took seven years, a totally invented plot, and an unkind character twist (after all the real person didn’t have a homicidal bent) but in 2010, I made good on my promise.
As I think about the two published books in my Dani O’Rourke series, plus the one currently in production and the stand-alone I’m working on right now, what might I wish would leap off the page and into my life? Would I want to start dating a homicide cop? Not really. Dani can’t seem to get through a dinner in North Beach without his cell phone interrupting and the evening being short-circuited by duty calling. Her ex-husband might seem like a good catch. After all, he has two Porsches, a Paris pied a terre, and four hundred and fifty million dollars. But life with Dickie comes at a price and if I’m half as smart as the protagonist I created, I would know better than to think I could change him.
How would I feel if I were being stalked some day while I was walking on a secluded trail? Not so good, thanks. Found out my best friend had been in a terrible accident? Stumbled over the body of a trophy wife tucked under the office furniture? Maybe I’m just not writing about the right things.
There’s a good idea: Write a scene in which my protagonist wins the lottery, buys a first class ticket to Hong Kong or Paris, and finds the perfect Chanel traveling outfit. What the heck. I’ll do it right and write in a Fendi bag and a suite at the Peninsula or the George V. Then, I’ll buy a lottery ticket and while I’m waiting for my actual life to follow my fictional lead, I’ll write a scene in which Dani is kidnapped…no, wait.