They say that everyone has at least one good book inside of them, hoping, or screaming to get out. I tend to believe that but also think that many if not most people have some wonderful and marvelous stories to tell if only … if only they had the time… the help… or inclination or?
Everybody has stories to tell. Memories of childhood. A promotion. A first day on the job. Your first date. A blind date from hell. That night being stuck on roadside when your car breaks down with no cell phone in the pouring down rain at 2 am in the morning and headlights appear. Do I flag them down? Do I lock myself in the car? Do I hide? All these can make great stories and maybe even a book or two. Relax. When writing a book take baby steps.
I find the stories I love the most that I have written are one and two page short stories. It is what I call a "silent scream," my reaction to something that has happened. Funny things. Sad things. Reaction to a story in the newspaper. Reading a newspaper advice letter. Seeing someone on a street corner doing something. All these things trigger thoughts and reactions. Most people think about it but do nothing else. I put all these ideas in a journal. (Buy a cheap one from a local dollar store.) I date it, give it a title, and write a max of two pages of what I am thinking about as a possible story and put it back on my desk. From time to time, I will pull it out and review it. A seed is planted. Let me give you an example:
One day my wife and I were taking a drive and had to stop while a bridge was being raised over the Florida Inter-coastal waterway. It was a warm sunny day and we had the convertible top down. While waiting for the bridge and the boats to go by underneath, I looked over at a man in a business suit walking to his car. He stopped outside his car, reached inside a bag, and pulled out a donut. He took great pains to hold the donut far away from himself and began to eat. I watched him trying not to get any of the white powder on his clothes as I nudged my wife. We both smiled and said in unison-, "He doesn't want his wife to know he is eating donuts. No way."
That day I went home and wrote down what I saw in my journal a notebook. It became the basis for the first book I wrote (unpublished) Titled- My Sicilian Wife or If a man eats a jelly donut in the forest will his wife know about it? It is the story of a man who decides to give his beautiful but suspicious, Sicilian wife a surprise 40th birthday party and has to sneak around to do it. All that from just observing a man eating a donut.
I went to visit a friend at a club who had a book exchange. They offered to let me borrow a book from their library for an upcoming vacation. While browsing through their library I picked up a couple of books and a piece of paper fell out. I bent over to pick it up and saw it was a folded letter. I began to read -My dearest darling- I don't know how much longer I can stand being away from you. I miss you more than I can ever say. I am not much of a writer but I do know that I love you and miss you. I thought this would be easy but I find that…
I stopped and refolded the letter and put it back in the book and returned the book to the shelf. I felt I was invading their privacy. I grabbed a book and returned to join my wife and her friends for lunch. When I mentioned what happened they all wanted to read the letter, "to return it to its rightful owner." Yeah right. However, it got me thinking. I wrote it down in my journal and titled it Love Letter. Then I began to think and wonder, What if? Who would write a letter now in this day of Tweets and emails? Why would she keep it? Why would she let it go? Maybe she didn't know it was in the book. I began to wonder and think what would cause someone to write such a wonderful letter such as this? Were there other ones he had written?
The story began to develop about a woman who moves to Florida after getting divorced and opens a used bookstore. She buys boxes of books at a flea market from a handsome seller who is downsizing after the death of his wife. She returns to her store and is sorting through her boxes of books when she discovers love letters inside. She starts to read and begins to fall in love. She decides to try to track him down to return them but with no luck. She knows exactly what she would say to him should she meet him until…
In September of 2012 the book Love Letters was finished and published by BME. Click here to read an excerpt from- Love Letters. ( http://tinyurl.com/Amazon-LoveLetters )
Just start by observing things and people around you and begin to read. Okay you say, what next?