There is no doubt that the daily routine of a writer has its ups… and… downs. I keep my eye on the prize of completing another novel and really (and honestly), I try to enjoy the challenge of the journey. It really is all a part of the process.
Everyone is individual in so many ways. Just because people can share some similar traits, mannerisms, and interests doesn’t mean that any two people are exactly alike. I like to think of it as a unique recipe dished out generously to make life a little more interesting.
One of my favorite quotes (Crime Science, Methods of Forensic Detection by Nickell & Fischer) that illustrates individuality perfectly is actually taken from the forensic individual perspective, but I think it can apply to the individuality of fiction writers.
No two things that happen by chance ever happen in exactly the same way.
No two things are ever constructed or manufactured in exactly the same way.
No two things ever wear in exactly the same way.
No two things ever break in exactly the same way.
Everyone, including writers, have a variety of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. If you really take the time to analyze any fictional writing project, you’ll notice subtle if not blatant quirks, and even your own personality traits woven into the story. It could be something like the type of food or candy the main character enjoys to strong political views.
For me, my love for large Labradors, sense of duty to finding missing children, and particular methods to search an old crime scene comes out in my main character. I’m sure there are more traits and beliefs that manage to weave their way into my stories that I’m not consciously aware of at the moment.
Isn’t if funny how these “quirks” are woven into fiction?
When I decided to write the Emily Stone Series, I knew that I wanted her to be knowledgeable about forensics and criminal profiling, but I also wanted her to do what most cops couldn’t or wouldn’t attempt. If I looked deeper into my writing, I started to see some of my personality traits subtly intertwined into the plot and subplots.
Here are a few of my life experiences that definitely had some influence into the Emily Stone character:
- On one of my police ride alongs to get to a domestic call, the patrol car reached speeds over 100 miles per hour.
- On two different occasions from complete strangers, I was threatened with a gun and shotgun pointed directly at me.
- I assisted a police department to find and arrest an individual with a felony warrant.
- Threatened and stalked by a psychopathic neighbor for more than two years.
- After witnessing a serious car accident, I directed traffic until the emergency vehicles arrived.
- Outraged by the number of missing children each day; even more outraged by the estimated number of missing children not reported.
- Feel strongly that law enforcement needs specialized training into cold cases and all types of serial cases.
Even though these aren’t really quirks, but rather experiences, they still manage to influence my crime fiction writing.
What are some of your quirks or experiences that have woven into your writing?
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I’d bet a writer’s background is more or less revealed in their work. Hmmmm.
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Jennifer, loved hearing your personal experiences/feelings and how they tie into your books. We can forget that authors are human too and bring their life experience to everything they write. My book is riddled with bits and pieces of my life as well. I like to think it adds to the richness of the book and same for you! Perhaps it allows us to write more passionately about such events/characters.
Thanks Donna 🙂 It’s funny how we create a character, outline what’s going to happen to them, and it ends up being a part of us (writer). I think it’s about writing what we know and then creating fiction.
I know for me, my main character teeters between her scientific mind and her creative side. She was pre-med, now she’s a sculptor and artist. I was a Bio major, now I’m a writer. And sometimes artist. 😉
Perfect! I love that combination for a character. Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂
Jennifer, hope you are well and writing going great…I am sure it is. Really enjoying your posts and find them so informative and inspiring to read. Thanks so much for sharing. I think my sense of humour comes across in my writing and I also draw on personal experiences and those of people I know – heavily disguised I hope! Locations are important to me and I often find them when out walking and take photos of places, building etc which I like and these often inspire me and on the way home I am already plotting. You seem to have had an exciting life. Do you just ask police departments to take you along for a ride? How do you get them to enable you access to their work and cases in the way you mention? I have heard about other writers going on ‘shouts’ and wondered how you ever got to be taken seriously enough to be taken along – especially as a new possibly as yet unknown? Any suggestions? Only reply if you have time and want to as I realise how busy you are, but I a curious. Have a lovely week.
Thank you Jane, I’m so glad that you’re enjoying my posts. I appreciate you stopping by 🙂
I’m not sure where you are located, but most US police departments (city or sheriff’s office) have civilian ride along programs. You would need to check with your local police department or one that you’re interested in and ask if they take ride alongs. All departments have different rules and restrictions (length of ride and time of day, etc). These civilian programs are mainly for press, students, and anyone interested in becoming a police officer. However, writers are now common ride alongs. It’s a great experience and for the most part it’s pretty tame, but you get a first hand experience of what goes on. My experiences are not typical 🙂 If you have questions about investigations, coroner’s office, etc., you would need to call the department and see if you can set up an interview with your questions. Most departments have email too, check their website. Be professional, prepared, and respectful. This will get you far with the law enforcement community. Many times once you meet someone within the department and they know that you’re serious and working on a book, they will refer you to another person and/or department.
Hope this helps! Please keep me posted and let me how it goes. Keep writing and have a wonderful week! 🙂
I love that little quirkiness in novels. Sometimes, it’s like an inside joke. Like the way Stephen King hints at his other stories in a novel. I see some of my quirkiness creeping into my writing (my love of cats and tacos, for example LOL).
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