Monday, January 29, 2007

Where Do Stories Come From, Grandpa

status: 18000 words (still on track)

In Lisey's Story, Stephen King talks about writing being like finding a piece of colored string on the ground and following it to see where it goes. I like all of his writing metaphors: an archeological dig, sitting in a basement with a guy in a Hawaiian shirt, trying to attract a shy smelly animal.

Today I thought I'd tlak about some of my colored strings, and where they seem to be leading me.

The first thread that set my gears turning was a tragedy. A seventeen year old juvenile delinquent was beaten to death when shackled to a max-security offender in the back of a van. The private security company (mall cops) who handle prison transport got the forms wrong.

The second was the New Year's crime spree of a mad dog killer. An ex-boxer turned convicted killer lifts weights in prison for twelve years and becomes really quite scary. No one thinks to ask why he hasn't been showing up to meet with his parole officer for weeks. When the cops finally do knock on his door, they find half an arsenal. A body count follows.

I didn't notice that I was paying more attention to those news items than others. Not until the first frayed ends of a scene started playing in my head and wouldn't quit. A man sat on a bench down in the courthouse basement, near the parking garage. It's lunchtime, and the alert, capable bailiffs have handed him over to a couple of lax, disinterested mall cops. The kid next to him keeps chattering away, nervous and annoying.

The man's eyes stay on the guards.

Of course, nothing stays the same. Tomorrow I'll post on how that soon-to-be-escaped felon is changing as I write.


Charles Gramlich said...

I'm working on trying to flesh out a character and it's events just like these, coupled with real folks I know, who will build him for me and set his first scenes.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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