My last two blog entries were about the inspiration for my first two books, Autumn Colors, and In Her Mother’s Shoes. Today I will show an example of authors branching out from imaginary variations on their own life stories.
The story line for my current work-in-progress, tentatively titled Transitions, evolved while I was working on a different story, one I was calling Kiss Petey, an adventure/romance. For some reason I was more tuned in to the world around me than usual – the whole world, not just my personal world. And I started thinking about how the lives of “little” people like me go on seemingly untouched by triumphs and tragedies of the greater world. We live normal lives, with modest incomes, and families that range from close and supporting to distant or downright antagonistic. But our experience of our little lives occurs against the backdrop of wars and hurricanes and tornadoes and floods and mudslides – and so on – that rip apart the lives of other people. If we are compassionate, we may contribute to funds that help those people or even volunteer to help more directly. But overall our lives go on pretty ordinarily.
Until they don’t. Until one of those horrors or tragedies or acts of nature make a direct hit on us.
Some are fortunate enough to have the means – financially, mentally, emotionally – to move beyond the tragedies that hit us directly. Others are not so fortunate.
What if we were living in a country or world where there were no safety nets for those people who can’t pull out of their personal disasters and tragic lives?
What if the country or world held to a philosopy of “survival of the fittest?”
What would happen to those people who can’t rise above the challenges to their lives? How would that impact those who somehow could hold it together against seemingly insurmountable adversity?
What would our world look like a century from now if everybody had free choice about just about anything, but had to pay the price for making bad choices?
Do you see what I did? I took a simple, random thought and let it evolve to the foundation of a story. Of course, the evolved idea still has to be made into a literary work that contains all of the required attributes to be a great story and a riveting read. And the jury will be out for some time on whether my story, evolved from this idea, has what it takes.
But every novel starts somewhere. And that’s the point of this post!