Where do your stories come from?
I always enjoy reading interviews with authors regarding where they get the inspiration for their books, particularly fiction. If you look hard enough, you can spot a seed of where that original idea bloomed. You might even find a correlation between something in the author’s life or history that inspired their fictional work.
article about the late V.C. Andrews, author of the Flowers in the Attic series. I never knew Andrews had been crippled by rheumatoid arthritis at a fairly young age and confined to a wheelchair. I also didn’t know that Andrews lived most of her life with her mother in a large, Victorian house. With those new facts, I could easily see where a fictional story about siblings locked away in the attic of a grand old house most likely came from.
For me, I have yet to write a novel that didn’t include some personal element from my life. In my middle-grade novel, it’s the setting, both a physical place and a time period I'm particularly fond of as well as the two main female characters. Through writing those pages and the scenes within, I recreated situations very similar to things I had gone through as a 10-year-old, and worked to resolve them in ways I never could in real life.
In my YA, the story is set in the place where I spent my formative years, but the aspect of the novel that resonated the most with me was the theme of depression and isolation, two very personal issues I have struggled with throughout the years. Through the main character’s voice, I felt like I finally had the chance to say things I’ve never been able to say to anyone else before, to vent out the frustration of not always having someone there to listen when I needed it the most. I think it added a deeper layer to the story, and to the character development of the book, but it was cathartic at the same time. It was so cathartic I haven’t been able to pick up the draft for revisions since I finished it.
Have you ever written something that poured out of you so freely and openly that it scared you? That it made you feel like you were exposed for all the world to see, even though it was a work of fiction? I found this interesting passage in the book Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg:
Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of the beginning. Probably that’s why we decide we are done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something that is real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.
Yes. Where do your stories come from? What do you do when the words that are pouring out of you become a little too real? Do you pull back or keep going?
Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who blogs at Renee’s Pages.