Friday, April 19, 2013

World Events, My Life and My Fiction

          Like most of you, I have been glued to my television for the last few days, watching the wrenching events taking place in Boston, at the marathon and later in and around Cambridge and Watertown.  I go about my daily routine and then come back to the TV to see the latest developments and watch the drama play out on my screen like scenes from The Bourne Identity, or another equally improbable movie.  It is impacting my life on a day to day basis.

          So is the explosion in Waco Texas at the fertilizer plant.  I keep thinking about the people living nearby, feeling the blast like an earthquake, shaking their house and their security.  I think about the  shootings in Newtown Connecticut and Colorado and Hurricane Sandy, and the people I know who were impacted by these events.

          And I think of the people in my stories.  Every single one of them lives his or her life influenced by the events of the times.  I have to remember to place them in real time and think about what was happening in the world when they were living, even if it was far away from them.  Even if it only made them anxious and gave them bad dreams about tsunamis or about terror attacks, the world is always with them.  Using real events in the world in my stories gives characters new ways to react.  It enriches the story, gives readers a way to connect, to say, oh yes, I remember that.

          I will go back over my linked short stories and make sure that I have used, whenever I can, the events that were taking place in the world during the time of the story.  It's good advice for all fiction writers.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bucket List

I was traveling with my husband for a week in Sicily, enjoying the vibrancy of the green hills, the different shades of green and yellow and pink that cover the land in early spring, trying to describe it in my head, feeling incredibly lucky that I am able to travel all over the world.  As we drove through the country side we talked, as we often do, about what else is on our "Bucket List."

For the first time I realized that my  bucket list consists of only one thing now:  finish and publish my book.  And after that, write another one (I already have ideas swimming in my head).  It isn't that I've accomplished everything else I want to do in the world.  It isn't that I have been everywhere in the world I want to go.  It is that nothing right now is as important to me as giving life to my characters and putting them out there in the world.

The act of writing validates me, roots me in the world as nothing else does. I just got home and I am focusing on this one big goal;  I will not stop until it is accomplished.