Jump to content

Everyday Life Can Inspire the Best Plotlines

Recommended Posts


Occasionally I get down on myself because I feel like I haven’t “lived” enough rich life experiences to warrant being a novelist. My travel is limited to the United States and Mexico, and I’ve spent many years grinding away at a job to help pay the bills and focusing on being a mom. I wouldn’t change anything now, because I do have a good life, but every now and then that little voice begins whispering in my ear that I have no business creating fictional worlds when my own is not always “exciting.” 

Then I stop to think about the topics I’ve written about. When my son was in elementary school, he developed this horrible rash that covered his entire body. The pediatrician couldn’t figure out what it was and sent us to a specialist. We worried what people would think when they saw him and if it was contagious. (It turned out to be viral and antibiotics and ointment cleared it up after a few days). But his experience made me think about what a teenage boy would feel like if the same thing happened to him. I wove that storyline into a young adult novel called “Under My Skin,” and while it has never been published, I think it has potential. My soon-to-be published young adult novel “Before Time Runs Out” takes place in a small North Carolina town and features paranormal elements. It was inspired by the death of one of my classmates.

My obsession with watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, and reading books about true crime inspired two award-winning short stories “The Polaroid” and “The Monster in the Woods.” My trip to a writing conference about crime resulted in an award for an article I wrote for this site, “We Speak for the Dead: The Creation of a Writing Conference all About Crime.”

My current WIP is about a podcaster trying to solve her sister’s disappearance. My own work as a podcaster has helped me create a narrative arc told through a variety of mediums, similar to the style of the novel “Daisy Jones and the Six.” When I think about some of my favorite writers, they focus on setting their novels in ordinary settings in places they’re familiar with—think Elin Hilderbrand and Nantucket and St. John and Jennifer Weiner and Philadelphia and Cape Cod. If you have a vivid imagination and the ability to create compelling plots and flawed characters, it doesn’t matter if you travel to Europe every year or not (although that would be nice!) 

Everyday life can inspire the best stories. How has your own life inspired fiction or creative nonfiction?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and the creator/host of the true crime podcast Missing in the Carolinas. 

[url={url}]View the full article[/url]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 0
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



WTF is Wrong With Stephen King?

  • Create New...