Thursday, November 20, 2008

Uncanny or just paying attention?

I'm writing a novel now based on a real person -- very little is known about her, so it's mostly made-up; but the clues that I find to her real life are tantalizing and fascinating. The uncanny thing, though, is how real pieces of her life, mine, and the novel intertwine.

Some examples:
*She was born in Bermuda, I've never been there -- and I was just visited by some BOTM fans who live there. (Of course, I took advantage of this and asked them to describe what they remembered of it from when they were around 5 -- her age when she left.)
*In the book, there's a scene of her letting some rabbits out of their hutches -- one of the girls (9) described how someone had just done that to HER rabbits and how sad that made her
*a good friend of mine just moved to a neighborhood of London where she lived for awhile
*when I was wondering how rabbits reacted to being picked up and liberated, Adam was looking after someone's pet rabbits so I got to try it for myself....well, that's not a coincidence. I went with him to feed them because I was writing the book.

Then there are lots of similarities between her life and mine, both in childhood and adulthood, similarities that I didn't know about when the story came to me. It often seems when I'm writing something that the information I need just sort of comes; Maybe there is nothing uncanny about this at all. Probably there is always lots of information around and when I'm writing something, I just pick up what I need for the story, as though my mind is a radio tuned to a station, the book station.

It's fun --and also the test of whether or not I'm into something, because it's hard to UNtune it. I'll start reading, and find that I'm not concentrating on it, I'm still thinking about MY book. Or book to be: right now, it's still a ms.

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