I was going to write a post about how much I love fall. The changing colors, the spooky decorations, the crisp smell of the air and how I’ve integrated that love into my books. But then the shooting in Oregon happened and got me thinking about other things.
There are many things I could say, opinions I could share, but this isn’t my personal blog nor is it a political one so instead I’m going to talk about how the world affects what people write. Even as reclusive as some authors are, it’s very difficult to shut yourself off from the world completely and that world leaks into our writing whether we like it or not.
It could be subtle. Maybe the scene you’re working on becomes a little darker. Maybe you write a scene where your character gets to unleash the justice you cannot. Sometimes the effects are more profound. Perhaps you were writing a book about terrorism in New York or a school shooting and it got set aside because it’s too many triggers for too many people. Sometimes authors take the event and write an alternative history about what our world would be like if this horrible thing had never happened.
I had to do a lot of rewriting on my last project because every single one of my characters was depressed about the world around them, about their personal lives, about the things they couldn’t do. Fortunately I was astute enough to realize it wasn’t the characters that were depressed, it was me. I’d had a horrible year and I let it affect what I put on the page. It’s hard not to. Use those feelings if you can. Have a character that’s going to perish? Work on that scene. Pour those emotions into your other characters. Put your helplessness at the situation on the page. Not only does it make for good writing, it’s therapy for you as well.
I know this post isn’t the happiest one in the world, but sometimes you’ve got to be real and real isn’t always fun. How do you use the events in your life to make you a better writer? If you’re a reader, do you remember events in your life to help you relate to certain characters or scenes? Comment below and I’ll try to check in later. Right now, I’m off to snuggle with my kids.