Using Real People as Characters

The issue of using real people as characters in your stories or books comes up frequently in writer workshops. The reality is that we frequently use aspects of a person whom we have known or aspects of our own personalities in our stories. We often write about our own personal experiences. After all, especially in…

Read Everything

Photo is of the public library in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo was taken by Jonathan Moreau. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathan_moreau/ I read between 150 and 200 books per year. I’ve actually read over 100 already this year, but this is an unusual year for me. It is a matter of how a person spends his or her leisure…

Real Events in Fiction

Photo is “Tornado,” taken by Vincent Parsons. Tornado was on Highway 210, heading toward Orrick, Missouri. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrtickles/ One of my earliest published stories, “Transplanted Roses,” was based loosely on when my maternal grandmother died. It was told in first person, describing a large family who was falling apart because their matriarch had been diagnosed with…

Give Your Characters a Pet

I tend to worry about the dog. It’s probably a knee-jerk reaction for a childhood spent reading books like Zachary Ball’s Bristle Face, but if there is an animal in a story, I’m worried about what is going to happen to it. I don’t want anything bad to happen to it. Kill off half of…