I am frequently asked about the process of coming up with the stories filling the pages of my Snapshots At St. Arbuck’s book series.
And since I have not the barest scrap of creativity at present I figured this might be a good time to address the question.
I will attempt with all due diligence to be brief, but be it known to one and all that I am a bloviator of the highest order, so I cannot promise brevity.
Nor can I promise brilliance.
But I will endeavor to be inspirational.
It all started quite by chance on one balmy San Diego afternoon when I found myself ensconced in the corner of a beachside St. Arbuck’s slaving unproductively over a chapter in my first novel (A novel that has since been consigned to the bone yard, if anyone is interested…vile beast that it was).
A young couple sat down at the table next to me and began to talk about plans for their upcoming wedding.
And I sort of listened in.
It wasn’t eavesdropping in the classic sense for such was the proximity I couldn’t have ignored their conversation if I had wanted to.
The more I listened the more engrossed I became.
Her parents hated the groom and vowed not only to withhold financial support but to boycott the wedding as well.
His parents were quite impoverished and couldn’t help, but loved them both fiercely.
They tossed around several options for dealing with the problem and finally settled on getting married on Mission Beach and having the reception at McDonald’s with a dance to follow in the park vis-à-vis a boombox.
It seemed that the groom’s brother was a minister so even that expense was covered.
Their positive optimism was absolutely compelling.
There were no long faces or carping about what should’ve or could’ve been.
They just grabbed the problem and pummeled it into submission.
So impressive was this display that after they left I opened a new Word Document and jotted down a few impressions and saved it in a file I labeled “Story Ideas.”
And there it sat in a form of literary solitary confinement until one day I opened it up and got the idea for Snapshots at St. Arbuck’s.
So what’s the point?
Wherever you are, you have a window on the world: in your car; at the office; in school; at the mall; (stay away from St. Arbuck’s…it’s mine!!!); even at home with your kids.
There are stories all around you in a never-ending human drama.
All kinds of stories, IF you’ll just open your eyes and think like a writer.
In fact, think about this…
Take your laptop to a public place and linger until you spot a compelling individual (or group, couple, whatever).
Then begin to describe what you see in your best writer’s voice.
Think creatively and dramatically.
Yeah, I said “dramatically.”
I mean are we writers or not???
My bet is that you will be amazed at what you can produce.
It’s no big secret, folks.
My St. Arbuck’s is no more interesting than yours.
The secret is that YOU have to be interested in the people.
But I’ll warn you…once you start, there’s no turning back.
You’ll be hooked.