Keeping it Real – Or Not
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Hi, Mysteristas, it’s great to be back again. I have a topic that constantly concerns me regarding my writing. It’s been a nagging voice in my head, it’s frozen me at times, and I’d love your thoughts and opinions.
I’m a worrywart – in life and in my writing. It’s a personality thing, and I struggle to control that useless emotion.
I also prefer to write about real places. I like to ground a story in realism and tell a fictional story within those surroundings. However, we’re warned constantly as writers that if something bad happens in your book, make it a fictional place.
That’s exactly what happened in my recent release, Buried Agendas. My mind kept revolving around one central idea. What would happen if a chemical was created that never should have been created?
Worry number one was that I wasn’t qualified to write such a book. Being married to a chemical engineer does not make you one. But the good news is when you’re a writer, and an idea takes hold, if your muse is powerful enough, it squashes uncertainty.
When the idea simply was driving me mad, I contacted Region V’s EPA, and asked about a chemical I wanted to use. A wonderful agent in its office sent me all kinds of information on the formula I was curious about. The reports detailed that many years ago, the chemical in question was so prominently used; that it had been in production for so many years, caused so many ill-effects, that it was eventually taken off the market, EPA-banned, and the site on which it was created turned into a superfund site.
Wow. What had I gotten myself into?
I tried to dismiss the idea, but my muse refused to abandon the story. The brainstorming and the research continued. To be fair when the EPA was obviously on one side of the issue, I contacted plant chemists, plant managers , underground tank experts, lawyers and doctors. Pretty soon, I had a novice blueprint of what I wanted to write. Therefore I chose a novice protagonist in which to tell my story, and as I try to do in every book, I did my best to tell the story through the characters’ eyes, while keeping the author’s viewpoints to herself.
Needless to say, the setting in Buried Agendas is completely fictitious, but I do try to ground it somewhat in reality.
If you want to write a story, work around those nagging naysaying doubts. They say, “Write what you know.” I’ve always said I know enough about topics to be dangerous. But I’ve a curious mind, and I’m a storyteller. Worry or not, the story has to come first.
I wonder if I’m alone in this. Do you keep it real? Are you a fearless creator? Does doubt ever grab you by the throat and silence your muse? How do you combat it? Do you stick to what you know, or, like me, do you become absorbed in a topic until you have no choice but to get it down in print? Tell me your creation stories. I’d love to know.
Okay, Mysterista Readers: Donnell is giving away a copy of Buried Agendas to one commenter, trade paperback or digital, winner’s choice. Let’s hear what you have to say!
Donnell Ann Bell grew up in New Mexico and today lives in Colorado. A homebody at heart, she concentrates on suspense that might happen in her neck of the woods – writing Suspense Too Close to Home. She is the author of The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall and Betrayed, all of which have been e-book best sellers. Buried Agendas is her newest release. Along with veteran police officer Wally Lind, Donnell co-owns Crimescenewriters, a Yahoo group putting law enforcement experts together with writers. Donnell loves to hear from readers. Like her on Facebook or contact her via her website www.donnellannbell.com