Who, as a writer, hasn't stumbled on something interesting and thought these words? I can use this...
That was certainly the case when I wrote my current Kindle Vella novel back in 2017, on the heels of the U.S. presidential election. The country was so divided, and I wondered if anything could ever bring us together again. Friendships were broken, marriages cracked, and communities were torn apart. I was quite distressed about it all.
What about romance? What could possibly bring two people who were polar opposites politically and in other ways... together in that kind of toxic environment? And, thus, this book description for The Lonely Rancher was born:
Four conservative ranchers. Four feminist businesswomen. The most contentious, divisive presidential election in modern history. When a lonely rancher and a successful businesswoman literally run into each other... sparks fly...
From there, the story evolved into an exploration of what elements could overcome huge philosophical gulfs as well as a lifetime of tried-and-true habits. What skills and supports did my protagonists require beyond the initial unforgettable attraction, to make their relationship work? We all remember the early days of infatuation, when all-consuming thoughts and lusts bordered on addiction. But after the fires cooled, what foundations would keep love solid and alive? Especially when the two main characters are older, established, successful, settled, and don't really need anything, but definitely want each other against all odds.
Speculations like that lead to another series of "I Can Use This..." moments, as well as ideas for more books in the series.
For book #2? The #MeToo movement reared its ugly head.
For book #3? An article about Hugh Hefner and his failed first marriage, in which his wife's infidelity appears to have resulted in a life of polyamory, had me musing. I plan to turn that one upside-down by having a female secondary character in book #1 take on the role of the betrayed.
And on it goes with this kind of brainstorming.
Naming my characters? I almost always use names from online obituaries. Weird, right?
Stay tuned as the other members of the blog explore the theme all month. We all have our moments!
What are some I Can Use This moments that have occurred in your writing? Was it something personal that worked its way into your book? A news story? Something you read in a novel that you disagreed with? Or perhaps you felt it needed more research? What?
Leave us a comment with your best and brightest ideas.
|Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil. She spends her days drinking coffee, writing, and herding trolls. She is a happily published #KindleVella author and you can find all her books and social media links here.|
My first novel, "The Accounting," which has been revised and updated and is now in layout with e-book publication imminent, deals with abuse. With one exception, all the abuse incidents in the story were taken from real life, mostly from spousal abuse suffered by people I knew. When I first learned of them decades ago, I never considered using them in a book. Later, I realized I could use them in a fictional setting that protected the victims and reached out to readers who might benefit from the story's theme, as well as the links in its opening pages. The second book "Tormented Tango," grew out of a comment made to me by an attorney: "All lawyers are sleazes." What a great "I can use this" statement! (John Gresham, move over.) The third novel, which I've recently begun, was inspired by the pitfalls of growing old in a youth-oriented society and is definitely an expansion of several "I can use this" observations and experiences. The second in this 2-book series follows the same theme and fictionally explores the untapped gifts seniors bring to family, friends, and community. It also will address the challenges they face physically, mentally, and socially as the characters refuse to become victims of the rocking-chair-on-the-front-porch syndrome. Several younger characters will make both stories relevant to adults of all ages.ReplyDelete
A passing comment can definitely be the beginning of a new book! Love it, Linda.ReplyDelete
Picked up so many tools along the way and created my own "how to" because I needed something to fill in the muddy middles. I have gone down the rabbit hole of true crime podcasts, and if anyone writers murder mysteries, this is the time sink for you.ReplyDelete
Research definitely takes up time. But SO fascinating, right?Delete
Most of my books came from "I can use this" moments. I think that news and current affairs, as well as what happens to friends can almost always prompt a story.ReplyDelete
I hope you write about your hashtag moments soon.Delete
My book, Murder Deja Vu evolved after I heard about a man who spent half his life in prison for a crime he didn't commit. That was the seed. The man I created spent 15 years in prison for a heinous murder which he didn't commit. Then I planted a bit of PTSD, added water with a romantic element, and grew it with a crime that mirrored the crime that sent him to prison. Since then, I've read multiple cases of innocent men and women doing time for crimes someone else committed. My book Hooked grew out of the scandal that ensued when a past governor of New York found himself when he was caught in a prostitution sting. What were the call girls like? What caused them to do what they did? Writers absorb everything they hear, read, and see. Everything is a plot for a book.ReplyDelete
It's so true. If only my neighbors and family knew. LOL.ReplyDelete
My YA novel Madison Lane was sparked by footage of thousands of tween girls queueing up for a Hannah Montana experience. It got me musing over the question, "What does every young girl want?" and I realised many of them would want to BE Hannah Montana - a movie star, a rock star, a famous celebrity, etc. And so I hit upon a story of a girl who gets her wish to be a movie star... at first ;-) I then added in all the changeability of tweens, where the answer to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" is different on a daily basis. Maddie gets tasters of being a paleontologist (Jurassic Park-style), archeologist (Indiana Jones would be proud), and even a time traveller!ReplyDelete
Good thing one of my tween wishes didn't come true: a nun. Oh, my, what a disaster that would have been. LOL.ReplyDelete
Many/most of my ideas come from historical events or old newspaper articles. Thank goodness so many newspaper archives are now online, such as the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org/ ).ReplyDelete