Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Harder I Work, the Luckier I Get

By Martha Reed

In my last blog, I talked about research. In this one, I’m going to talk about luck.

Some folks might call it coincidence, but I’ve noticed that when I start to work toward a creative goal, if I keep my focus on it, odd things happen. There was a huge fire in my mystery novel, and as I wrote the chapter I was having trouble describing what it looked like, because I’d never actually seen, up close, a really big fire. Giving up, I went for a walk and stopped at my sister’s house. We sat on her back deck for a good five minutes before we saw the smoke – the neighborhood Presbyterian church was on fire and everyone ran down to watch our volunteer firefighters in action. And there it was, my first big fire.

Today it happened again. I’m working on a story about retired circus people, and I’ve done a bit of thinking about where they would live and what a, say, retired trapeze artist would do for fun after his knees gave out. Out of the blue, I got a phone call from an old friend who invited me to Sarasota, Florida at the end of the month to help her use up her timeshare. Sarasota Florida, the winter home of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus.

Things that make you go hummm. My sister says I should write a story about hitting the Pennsylvania lottery and then play those numbers.

How about it? Any odd creative coincidences out there?


Tory said...

I once decided that my hero needed to smoke. Never having smoked before, I wasn't able to describe the "buzz" (I assume) it gives. Still, I wasn't really willing to give myself lung cancer to find out what it is like!

A week or so later, a new client came to me who wanted to quit smoking. During one session, we talked about what it's like to smoke, what she gets out of it.

I'm sure there's other times that sort of synchronicity has happened, but that's the one I remember.

Enjoy Sarasota, Martha! I have a friend who lives there, who I've visited a couple times. Did you know they win world-wide sand contests (their sand IS the softest and finest in the world.)

Annette said...

Two days after I wrote about my protagonist's best friend being in a horrific car crash, my cousins were in one. I got to see first hand what the Neurological ICU and waiting room was like and I realized that I had to rewrite that scene and add more emotion.

As far as research goes, I don't recommend this particular type. But the lottery idea sounds promising!

Lee Lofland said...

My first book deal was with Writers Digest Books. Shortly after signing the contract, my wife's job forced us to relocate to within a few miles of the Writer's Digest home office. We moved again this year for her job, and I've just signed another deal with a publisher that's located just a few miles away from our new Boston area home.

Hmmm...I feel another move coming. Anyone know the address of Harper Collins?