Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Inappropriate Inspiration?

There was a recent tragedy in my state, perpetrated by a reportedly “sane” man. The court is waiting for evaluation results for good measure.

Regardless of what the state determines, the suspect has an interesting story on the why of his crime. As soon as I heard his explanation, my writer brain took off with a potential story line along a paranormal/conspiracy theory/mystery twisted line. At first I felt bad, getting a story idea off of a tragedy even though I often borrow pieces of real life to incorporate into some of my stories. Then I decide, what the heck, and asked some friends what they thought.

I got an interesting mix of responses back. Some people thought it was totally inappropriate to write up a story that was inspired by such an evil act. Others told me they thought Stephen King may have already done a story along the same line, only a few thought I should go ahead and tackle the storyline, thinking I might be able to have an interesting take on it.

When I read that Stephen King may have already done something similar, it started me wondering. Where does King get his inspiration? Are they from inappropriate places, such as real life evil doing or do they just come to him like many of my other characters do? Then I really began to wonder, how many other writers may get their ideas from “inappropriate” sources of inspiration – whether it be personal tragedy, global tragedy, or local tragedies perpetrated by humans – and whether or not they feel guilty or bad for basing a story off of a real life event.

I'm still debating whether or not to write up the story line. I have notes jotted down and luckily I have more than enough WIPs in the queue that I need ot work on that I can let it sit for awhile before making a decision.

So here's my big question: is it “normal” to feel uneasy about a story idea that jumps out at you from today's headlines? How would you, as a reader, feel if you throughly enjoyed a story that you discover is based off of a real-life tragedy?


1 comment:

Carissa's Musings said...

I feel your angst- I wrote a story, put the last period on the page, hit save and went to bed a tad before 3:45...the next day it happened, mostly how I wrote it. Dec 14th 2012. Sandy Hook. I had sent it out to a dozen of my readers, got coffee, turned on the TV and it was all over the news. In my story it was the asst principal that went off the deep end, and after one chapter, it focused more on how one family went about healing 2 daughters that were equally broken even though only one was technically a "victim". I couldn't get Bus 47 in front of anyone because of the subject, yet everyone who has read it says its amazing...so I put it out myself in Jan of this year. I did add a bit about how it was inspired and why I waited and as a mom who has buried a child- it was never about trying to make a buck off a dead kid.
Inspiration happens- embrace your muse.