Saturday, January 19, 2013

Subtle and Extraordinary aren't Mutually Exclusive

I sometimes wonder how truly remarkable authors come up with their ideas. The perfect example is J.K. Rowling. How did she create this entire universe and mythology in Harry Potter? A mind like hers is so enviable; authors like her don’t come along every day.

The stories I write are always based in reality, which makes them easier to write. I think fantasy writers have more of a challenge, because they have to create their own rules for how the world works. My rules are already set, and they’re the ones I live by.

That creates its own set of challenges, however. My books need to be entertaining and realistic at the same time. I have to create drama while still being plausible. So I tend to draw on situations from my own life.

I’m a teacher, and I have several teacher characters in my novels. I’m from Minneapolis, so three of my books are set there. I love movies and politics, so I use them as a backdrop for my plots.

But where does the interesting part come in? Here’s what I do: I think of something that happened to me in real life, and then I ask myself how it could have been more dramatic or compelling. Usually our day to day lives are fairly predictable; at least mine is. But there is all sorts of potential for more. I get my inspiration by examining that potential. In November Surprise Lucy is definitely a girl-next-door type. Like Lucy, I didn’t date much in high school. Lots of people don’t. But how many of us go on to fall in love with the seemingly wonderful and perfect guy who was so popular and out of reach? And what would happen if we did? That’s the question I try to answer in this book.

Nothing in Lucy’s world is too out of the ordinary, and she herself is the type of person who could be your neighbor. But her conflicts are a little more vivid, and her passions are a little stronger than what most of us experience every day. The extraordinary in her world lies in subtleties rather than the obvious. I only hope readers will find that as interesting as I do.

1 comment:

  1. I have an 8 year old niece and a 5 year old nephew who advised me that the way J.K Rowling named her characters was by spelling their real names backwards. With that being said my name is Ydnic and I am not following you via GFC.