Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Where Do Writing Ideas Come From?

What inspires ideas for writers? They may come from anywhere: life experiences, people we’ve met, events we’ve witnessed, dreams or quirks of our imaginations. I often take something from real life and then brainstorm, expand it or take it to an extreme. As an example my protagonist, Paul Jacobson, in Retirement Homes Are Murder has short-term memory loss. My stepfather had short-term memory loss so I saw first hand the issues associated with dementia. But Paul has completely different symptoms than my stepfather had. Paul remembers thing fine during the day retaining the excellent memory of his youth, but overnight everything goes blotto. As Paul says, he still has a photographic memory during the day, it’s just that overnight someone removes the film. People with short-term memory loss need to devise methods for dealing with their problem. Through the encouragement of people around him, Paul starts keeping a journal. This becomes his memory aid. With Paul there is one circumstance when he can remember things from the day before. He uncovers this accidently but unfortunately it isn’t something he can activate every day. I’ll leave it to the reader to also discover this little idiosyncrasy of Paul’s strangely wired brain.

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