Monday, March 4, 2019

Is That Me in the Mirror?

Q: Do family and friends and their lives become fodder for your stories and, if so, do they ever recognize themselves and complain?

- from Susan (Sorry to be late posting.)

Yes and no. Yes, everyone I know has the potential to be fodder in some ways for my stories, usually so manipulated so that they would never realize it. Heck, I become fodder for my stories too. How do you write well about people without observing people?

Has anyone ever complained? Quite the reverse. My friend who moved to France was thrilled to see herself and her husband morphed into Katherine and Michael Goff. But mostly, if I’m doing my job right, the transfer from real life into fiction is too subtle and too multilayered, as it should be.

Probably I borrow from the observations of character more than plot. I do see newspaper stories of outrageous true happenings and think, “that would make a great novel.” But real life crime that interests me is usually not the kind that makes for grabby headlines. What draws me is how people moving though ordinary lives somehow lose perspective and fall into trouble of their own making. 

I see that kind of quiet tragedy in the writing of many of my Criminal Minds colleagues and it’s one thing that makes their novels so compelling and ‘real’ to me. 

My latest is an example of my merging real people and their stories into fiction: 


Paul D. Marks said...

Like you say, Susan, everyone we come into contact with has the potential to be character fodder (better than being canon fodder ;-) ). Sometimes I feel like I should walk around with release forms and just hand them out to everyone I see.

Susan C Shea said...

Paul, yikes if we had to do that!