Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What if . . .

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever read was from Mary Higgins Clark - if you don't know her you've got to have been living under a rock - when she was asked about where her ideas came from. Her response - what if! Okay, her response was longer than that, but the main idea was to look at a news story and go what if . . .

So, this is what I've done with my current project, which is Book II in my mystery series. I took a situation that occurred in the town I live in a few years ago and went, what if . . .


I must say, this whole what if thing is kind of fun. I have a real life event that I'm putting my own spin on using just the basics of the actual event to provide motive for the murder that takes place on the first page of the manuscript.

Will I always use this technique? Probably not. The idea for Book III (which, once upon a time was Book II, but is now Book III - long story) came from a rumor of something that has been going on for a while and, well, provided the motive for murder. I just love it when that happens.

The fact is, life is full of situations that, for a writer, can provide the motive for murder . . .

. . . an argument witnessed on a street corner.

. . . an argument between co-workers.

. . . the sighting of a former, hateful, boss at a movie.

. . . the arrest of a public official.

. . . the . . .

Well, you should get the picture. Life is full of so many events that, with a bit of a warped imagination (mine's a bit more warped than most peoples) . . . anything can happen.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I know who Mary Higgins Clark is, AND I live under a rock. Granted, my rock is next to a Barnes and Noble.

What if... someone lived under a rock?

Say, that's pretty easy.

I agree that ideas for stories can come from the little incidents and comments that take place around us all the time. I'm working on one right now that was inspired by a glance out my car window on the way to work a few months ago. It took that long for me to realize the story was there, but I found it.

Good luck with your current and future projects.