Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Lies, Spies, and All Those Dreamy Guys

One of the cardinal rules of writing is to write what you know. But what does a stay at home mother of six know about spies, espionage, and international criminals? Well, with five boys and only one daughter, I actually know more than you would think. (You can’t believe what kind of seemingly innocent situations our family has gotten into! Can I just apologize to that poor policeman one more time?)

But seriously, what if you want to write about something that you haven’t had personal experience with and you have no idea on how to start? First, you should take stock of what you know and who you know. If you don’t know much, you do research. It would be a lot easier if you’d actually been in a situation with government agents and terrorists, but then you’d probably be a guest on Larry King and CNN , not to mention fielding multi-million dollar publishing offers for your story. Sadly, I never seem to be in the right place at the right time, so neither Larry nor CNN has called. I am forced to do research for my books until then, but hey, you never know what tomorrow will bring. Luckily, I do know a few people that are willing to share experiences and I draw upon that. Everyone has a story to tell, believe me. (Some I didn’t want to hear, but when they find out you’re a writer, it just spills out! Seriously!) My grandmother was a senator in the federal government of Canada and so I had an in on some government workings there, to add some authenticity to my novels and the CSIS agency in Canada. Of course it was all fictionalized in my novel, but some of it is always real.

And speaking of some of it always being real, people always ask me how I come up with my bad guys and I’ll tell you another secret of mine. I just squashed together every person who’s ever been mean to me and made them into the criminal masterminds, with all their little quirks. So if you’re someone who’s done me wrong, and you’re reading my books, you might be able to guess who you are! Or not. That’s the other cardinal rule of writing—never get on the bad side of a writer or you’ll probably end up in one of their books and it won’t be a good thing.

So, the liars are all my sworn enemies, the spies are from my research and imagination, and that brings us to the dreamy guys. First of all, let me tell you I am happily married to a very romantic man, so that makes coming up with my heroes quite easy. Most of them are based on him—I know, you’re rolling your eyes, but it’s true! If you knew my husband, you would see why. But I digress. If you don’t have a dreamy guy in your life, you can take author license and squish together Matthew McConaughey’s smile, with Patrick Dempsey’s hair, and George Strait’s voice, you get the picture. Or, you could just make him an average guy, who happens to be a spy (hey, that rhymes!) Whatever you decide to do, always be sure to give your hero (or heroine) a little quirk or something to work on, so they’re not perfect and a little more believable. You want the audience to root for the character and be able to identify with them. But keep in mind that’s why they’re "dreamy" and that’s why this is a fiction novel—so the women will swoon, and the men will be inspired.

So you now know another one of my secrets—when I am doing dishes or cleaning toilets, my mind is far away, with lies, spies, and dreamy guys. And if you see me patiently listening to an animated person tell me about their wild experience with a beaver in their back yard, please come and rescue me. I’ll make you into one of the good guys in my next book—I promise!


At 3/23/2006 1:28 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Remind me not to make you mad!

Then again, I've never been cast as the bad guy in a novel, so it might be an interesting experience . . . at least I don't THINK I've been the bad guy . . . hmm . . .


Post a Comment

<< Home