Friday, August 27, 2010

BAD Antennae!

I had lunch with two friends today. We spent time catching up on our lives at a noisy Buffalo Wild Wings. One of my friends talked at length about a sort of Renaissance she's having in her life. She and her husband may be on the verge of a divorce. In fact, after she told him that she was unhappy and what she thought they could do to have a better marriage, his response was "Well, we should just separate then." According to my friend, her husband had absolutely no interest in doing anything differently. No compromise. No change. If it  meant things had to be different, he wasn't interested.

Now, my friend has been coming into her own in the last six months or so. She looks better, happier, more buoyant. She chalks it up to the fact that she decided after more than a decade of wedded unbliss, she wanted to focus on her own happiness and her own life.

Okay . . . what does this have to do with writing? Well, as a writer, the number one question people ask me is: "Where do you get your ideas?" Today I could say, "From a friend going through a divorce and is suddenly the happiest I've ever known her to be."

When people ask that question, my response is usually that artists always have our antennae up. Ideas come to us from all the experiences we have. This afternoon, while listening to my friend talk non-remorsefully about her situation, I felt a twinge of guilt because a small part of me was creating plot lines and developing characters. By the time I got my "To Go" box, I had an idea for a three-book series and couldn't wait to add it to my idea file.

So . . . what about you? Have you gotten a story idea from an unexpected experience? What was it, and what did you do with your idea?

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