This month's topic is what inspiration lies beyond your characters. Right now I'm thinking about my latest novel, Such Stuff As Dreams, scheduled for publication in October of this year. The story was inspired by my mother's scrapbooks, photo albums.and a couple of letters. Mom had the trip of a lifetime in 1928, when as a 22 year old schoolmarm from a tiny Kansas town, she was invited by girlhood friends to spend the summer with them in Pomona, California. California! Oranges! Fun! Romance! From the looks of the scrapbooks and the photo albums she had a wonderful time.Now, a writer should never, ever write a novel about people having a wonderful time. Think The Great Gatsby. Yes, there are exciting parties, but the main characters (including Gatsby) are not enjoying themselves. They're conflicted, even lost. The party-goers whom Gatsby doesn't even know are the only ones having a great time. Gatsby, yearning for Daisy and hoping to impress her, does not have a fun, nor do any of the supporting characters enjoy themselves. Everyone has inner conflicts. Everyone.
So it is with my novel, Such Stuff As Dreams. The further I went into the writing, the more I discovered that for my characters, life is wasn't fun and games, not by any means. The main character, Carla, discovers she has the wrong clothes, doesn't know the latest dances (the suggestive version of the Black Botton). She has to remind herself to call the latest kitchen appliance a refrigerator not an icebox. She is arrested en route home from a costume party, because the police think she's a gypsy. The chief of police gets fresh. And so on. He new romance is strewn with obstacles. I put my characters through the wringer, all in the interest of a good story.
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