Monday, December 20, 2010

And Another Thing

I learned about writing from Room.

4.  Inspiration only gets you so far.

Emma Donoghue has said that Josef Fritzl case was the original inspiration for the book.  He is the man who imprisoned his own daughter in the basement as a sex slave.

Now I would understand how a crime writer would use a case like that for inspiration, as a psychological thriller, a case study of the man.

But Donoghue turned this inspiration on it's head and, of course, changed it.  It is not the woman's father who abducts her.  It's not a crime story.  It is a psychological study, but of the boy and his mother.

Her website explains the extensive research it took to get everything right.  Some of that research was, as you can imagine, harrowing.  Then there was the mundane, like looking at decorating sites to get the room just right.

I'm going to look at headlines a bit differently from now on.  Instead of dismissing certain stories with "that wouldn't fit my genre," I'll look at how it could if I took it from a new angle.  This could open up a whole new world for my writing.

How about you?  Where do you find inspiration?  How much research do you do for each book?


Fleur Bradley: said...

I get my inspiration from history these days--never thought I would... :-)

I think the hardest thing is not to get sidetracked. To stick to what you need for your story, and that's it.

Debbie said...

Good point, Fleur. I'm famous for looking up when the orange trees blossom in Central Florida and end up looking at all the rides at the Harry Potter Theme Park and pricing plane tickets.

Marie D-W said...

My inspiration comes from a single flash of an image. If I'm curious enough about the random image- I'll build a story around it. Why are these people doing this? How did they get there?

Debbie said...

Aren't those flashes great?

Mine come from all over--overheard snippets of conversation (a favorite), half-remembered dreams, seeing a person do something unusual and trying to figure out why, someone's life, a chance comment by a friend. That last one is why I love hanging out with other creative folk; they can say the most inspiring things.