I’ve been asked many times, “Where do you get your stories?” The short answer is, I make them up. That’s called writing fiction. How do I make them up? Okay, here’s an example, start with a character, then let them tell you their story. This is how I came to write Hell Comes Home.
I’ll start with how I found the main character. Characters can come at you from anywhere, and they will if you let them. As a confirmed people watcher I often find in the people that pass me by. Here’s an example from one of my books.
A friend and I were on our way to the city. Once aboard the ferry boat she took off with her camera and I settled behind the wheel with a Stone Age laptop. (paper and pen) Once the boat was loaded I noticed a very attractive young woman beside our car. She was dressed in purple leathers and sitting astride a purple motorcycle. She looked rather pensive as she gazed out over the waters. For just a moment she looked like a super hero from the movies. I turned to a fresh page and began writing.
No, I didn’t start writing a story, no chapter one. I started with a quick physical description and a few notes on her mood, her attire, her motorcycle, etc. I then moved on to some possible reasons for her mood. Could have been anything, but the story sprang from those few things. No, I didn’t talk to her, didn’t want to know her name or anything about her. I write fiction. I can’t bring too much of a person into the character. That’s not fair to the real person nor is it fair to the reader. No, I have to let my imagination supply the rest. So, I went on with the day.
Later on that trip I saw a girl in Starbucks writing. She was writing poetry. Hmm, okay, I can use that. In the bookstore a graphic novel about a demon hunter caught my eye. The word demons went in my notes.
So now I need to know a bit about this girl. Who is she? What’s her life been like? There’s a news story about a teenage runaway. Okay, that will work. What else? Okay, from my head, she joined the military, special forces, black ops, becomes disillusioned, gets out to go home.
Now she’s real. She’s the heroine of my book Hell Comes Home, a story about a kick ass woman trying to make a place for herself in a world gone mad.
So, that’s it, folks and fans, that’s how a main character, and her story, is born in my world. This process may work for you, maybe not. Everybody works differently. The thing is, take a hard look at what works for you then find the strengths in that.
Best of luck in your reading / writing. Oh, and if there’s a topic you would like me to discuss, mention it in the comments. Feel free to ask questions too.