It is well known that many writers base their protagonist on themselves. There is only one problem with that- I’m boring. My parents gave me a frightfully normal and healthy upbringing. Although I am sure they had my best interests at heart, this deprived me of material for my creative muse. Sure there were a few times when my dad’s sense of humor would leave me certain I would die of embarrassment, but the Dr. Phil show isn’t going to have me on for this kind of trauma. Then I went and got happily married- once again denied drama. No one would want to read a book about me.
This is where you come in.
Friends, family, people sitting next to me on planes- all of you are fodder. I collect your stories like lint onto black dress pants. I can’t help it. I overhear a conversation in the Starbucks line and I start wondering “what if….” The next thing you know I am off scribbling on a napkin or in a notebook.
Some stories are too good to pass up. A work colleague told me about a prank where he made a copy of a friend’s car key. He then would go out during the day and move his friend’s car over one or two parking spaces. Or change it from a pull in park to a back in park. This went on for months. I loved this idea. I had Sophie (my protagonist) do the same prank in an effort to slowly drive her ex-boyfriend insane. Sophie calls it Operation Drive Him Home. The scene still makes me laugh.
I could never write non fiction. My memoir would make James Frey look like Mr. Honesty. I wouldn’t be able to resist the idea of how I could make the situation better, funnier, more tense. I would add people who weren’t there, toss in some snappy dialogue and bring it all home with a BIG ending.
My protagonist has a few things in common with me, she has a few details stolen (I mean borrowed) from friends, family and strangers and there are a few details completely made up. There is no one quite like Sophie- and I can’t wait for you to meet her.