Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Turning Scenes Into Stories by Patricia Forsythe


 

Yesterday, Pamela Tracy blogged about three different story ideas sparked by a camping trip she took with her family.  I started thinking about situations I’ve seen or been involved in that might spark an idea.  My favorite recent one was watching a man in my neighborhood walk into his house carrying a small dog kennel with one hand, and cradling a yellow Labrador puppy against his shoulder with the other.  The fact that he’s a retired US Navy SEAL made it extra sweet.    If he’d been carrying a diaper bag and a baby, I probably would have melted right on the spot.  Sigh.

I immediately began trying to think of a way to work this incident into a book, but I think it will have to stay in the back of my mind for a while.  Maybe some other scenes and characters will come along to join it and form a good story.

For a writer, almost anything can be turned into a story because our brains don’t work like other people’s do.  We’re constantly dramatizing and extending things in our minds.  Last weekend, at the Tucson Festival of Books, which I attended with about one hundred twenty-five thousand other book lovers, I saw a tall man walking around wearing a bright pink pig head.  Not the costume, only the head.  I wondered if he’d lost a bet, then I began imagining other scenarios in which he had to wear the head. Maybe he was trying to hide his face from some villains?  Could he be advertising a pork growers’ convention?  The possibilities are endless.
Last year, one of my cousins suggested I include Choctaw Wild Mustangs, the Oklahoma Heritage Horse, in an upcoming book.  I often receive suggestions like this.  Sometimes I use them, and sometimes I don’t, but this one was too good to pass up.  In my May Heartwarming, His Twin Baby Surprise, my hero, Ben McAdams decides that it’s his civic duty to raise and help preserve these purebred mustangs, even though he knows next to nothing about them.  I didn’t either, so I had to really dig into some research.  As it turned out, one of the ranchers who is working to preserve these horses lives within a few miles of the ranch my parents owned in Oklahoma.  If my dad were still alive, he could probably have told me everything I needed to know, so the research became bittersweet, but still fascinating.

If you’re a writer, has anyone given you a suggestion for a story that made it into a book?  If you’re strictly a dedicated reader, is there an incident or idea you’d like to see in a book?

Patricia Forsythe is the author of many romances, both traditionally and electronically published.  Her most recent release is The Husband She Can’t Forget, book two in her Oklahoma Girls series, which was released in February 2017.  Book number one, At Odds With The Midwife was released in November 2016, and book three, His Twin Baby Surprise in May 2017.

19 comments:

  1. I have a coworker who emails me a couple times a week with story ideas. I've yet to use any of those as he's got quite the imagination...more suited for a genre other than romance. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's funny. If you ever used one, he'd probably want some of your income!

      Delete
  2. I'm still thinking about the pig's head... I do use ideas sometimes, I think. I have a sister-in-law who makes suggestions like Jill's coworker, and they are definitely good for laughs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She probably likes that you at least listen to her ideas. ;)

      Delete
  3. I really enjoyed this post, Patricia, especially the anecdote of the man wearing the pig's head! And I could relate to your mention of the mustang research and its bittersweet connection to your father. I did use an idea from a friend once, years ago, that ended up in a Superromance. Love the cover of your new book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janice. I think those babies are sweet.

      Delete
  4. Patricia, your cover is absolutely adorable! I'm so glad May is just around the corner.

    The only person who has given me story ideas is my husband, and that's generally because I ask him for input.

    I would love to hear what readers have to say about story ideas they are interested in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'd love to know what readers want to read.

      Delete
  5. If that is the single cutest cover of all time, I don't know what is. I just want to cuddle those babies!

    I am so guilty of listening to table talk conversation, or cocktail party stories and my head is off and running. I admit to finding stories in newspaper headlines...an old trick of journalist turned novelist writers. Congrats on the book! I love all YOUR stories.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fun post, Pam! My friend had a bee colony living in the walls of her house. That made it into Return to Pelican Inn. Your cover is adorable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had bees in my walls two different times. Yikes!

      Delete
  7. Patti, the guy in the pig head will definitely have to pop into one of your books. People make suggestions all of the time and I find they have to come into my head as my idea, or like Catherine, overhearing some tidbit, or reading an interesting fact in a magazine or news article. I've used several of those. Love your cover and can't wait to read the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roz. I know you've found lots of ideas in newspapers, and from personal experience. I listen in on conversations, too. I've always thought that if I had a superpower, it would be eavesdropping!

      Delete
  8. A neighbor told me about a bird crashing into his window. He thought it was dead, but it slowly came back to life in his hand. I think that will make a perfect reflective scene in my current WIP, and when I asked if I could use it, he was thrilled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that sounds like a great scene. Best of luck with the book.

      Delete
  9. Patricia, I happily listen to story ideas from friends and family members. I don't often use them but sometimes they provide a spark that might go in a different direction. Or I'll file the idea away to use later. Like Roz and Catherine mentioned above, my ideas usually come from a snippet of conversation or an observation. Fun post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love listening to people tell stories, too. They're a rich source of ideas.

      Delete
  10. As a reader I'd like to see a story about two people who fall in love after they survive an air disaster together. They don't know each other, but both lose someone they love in the accident and perhaps they meet at a survivor's group session. They're both trying to cope with their loss while moving on with their lives and they find comfort and strength from each other and fall in love. ( :

    ReplyDelete
  11. Patti,
    I want to know if the retired seal is single? And, if he is....

    ReplyDelete