Monday, August 20, 2012

The Writer's Life


Thank you, Misha, for hosting me today. I've always loved your blog, so I'm really happy to hang out here for a little while!

I thought I'd chat about a writer's life. Specifically, this writer's life. Although it took me a while to realize I was supposed to write the stories that collected in my head, those stories have always been there and still are. Some are just snippets. Others are more fully formed. The same with characters – they hang out in my head, too. And I've always possessed the outlook of a writer.

People watching. OMG! More like instant profiles. "She has a cat." "He's a mechanic." "He's way too much in love with her, and she doesn't love him as much." Of course, I have no idea if my perceptions come close to the truth. Over time, these observances graduated to include stories about their lives. Sometimes these became the beginning of a new story in my head or blended with one already there. But not always.

Event watching. This is only slightly different from people watching. Or maybe it's still a part of it. But an event usually occurs when I'm not actively engaged in watching people. It may be as minor as a vehicle parked at an odd location or perhaps even at a strange angle. Or someone whose dress or manner is inappropriate for the occasion, say the man who sits apart at a funeral and doesn't speak to anyone. Or maybe the two strangers(?) in the pet store who meet, speak, and move on. Events like these truly spark my imagination. And sometimes lead to a plot twist in a story.

Names. I love maps, and I put names of streets, cities, towns, counties together to form names. South Carolina is home to Florence Newberry. Think about a character named Florence Newberry. Can't you just see her! There are many more, including two Texans, who you'll meet in stories yet to come, but not the same story—Peggy Whitsett and Brady Ellinger. These characters usually appear with at least a little backstory, and sometimes full stories spilling over and waiting to be told.

So how is your life as a writer? Do you do these things? Different things? Or am I the only one?

Carol Kilgore is a Texas native who has lived in locations across the U.S. as the wife of a Coast Guard officer. Back under the hot Texas sun in San Antonio, Carol writes a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss. She and her husband share their home and patio with two active herding dogs, and every so often the dogs let them sit on the sofa.

Learn more about Carol and follow her here:
Blog: 
http://www.underthetikihut.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.carolkilgore.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carolkilgore.author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/#!/carol_kilgore
Goodreads: 
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6094110.Carol_Kilgore



 
No home. No family. No place to hide. For Summer Newcombe, that's only the beginning.

The night Summer escapes from a burning Padre Island eatery and discovers the arsonist is stalking her, is the same night she meets Fire Captain Gabriel Duran. As much as she's attracted to Gabe, five years in the Federal Witness Security Program because of her father’s testimony against a mob boss have taught her the importance of being alone and invisible.

No matter how much she yearns for a real home, Summer relinquished that option the night she killed the man who murdered her father. But Gabe breaks down her guard and places both of them in danger. Summer has vowed never to kill again, but she's frantic she'll cost Gabe his life unless she stops running and fights for the future she wants with the man she loves.

47 comments:

  1. Great post, Carol! And...I've been to both Florence and Newberry SC, and I think they'd make a great Florence Newberry! Ha! Writers have their own way of looking at the world, for sure.

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    1. Good to know about Florence Newberry! I've only been to Charleston, so I'm not familiar with the other towns and cities in SC.

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  2. So that is what is going on in a writer's mind. Haha.

    I like your take on maps. I have always joked that for most guys in a waiting room, get rid of all the magazines and just leave a few maps and an atlas. We will never want to leave the room. Glad to know some writers are the same way...

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    1. My mind is never idle. Maybe my love of maps is my masculine side showing :)

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  3. I'm so guilty of people watching. I think I freaked a girl out on a train once because I kept staring at her, studying her. She was so perfect for a character I was writing about. Gah, I was the weirdo on the train that day ! :P

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    1. I can identify with that! I try not to stare, but sometimes I just have to :)

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  4. Carol, I'm always making up things in my head about people and things I see. It must be a writer thing:) Congrats on your new release!

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  5. Loved this post, Carol! In my life everything (and everyone!) is potential material. I love that about writing. Your book sounds fantastic! I'm off to check it out now!

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  6. Hi Misha! And Carol! I have always loved people watching!! My stories are still mostly in my head--so they are really supposed to move from there to the page? What an awesome comcept!!

    Thanks a bunch. :)

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    1. LOL! Yeah, they are. I thought everyone had stories and characters in their heads. But it seems that's not the case. When they're inside you, they need to come out :) Nice to meet you!

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  7. I think I have jellybeans in my head.

    Sounds like you were born to write, Carol :)

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  8. Jellybeans :)
    I want an orange one, please!

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  9. I can see how important it is to pay attention to things and people around you so you can use it in a story. Great article, thanks!

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    1. Things in a story usually come out differently from the actual event, but the heart of the matter is still there. Nice to meet you!

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  10. So many scenes from here and there end up in our writing. Id be the ordinary man would be amazed to find out just how they inspire writers.

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    1. I think you're right. I believe people think only the big ideas are important. In truth, the big idea is nothing without all the little things.

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  11. People watching is the greatest source for characters! I usually wear sunglasses. And sometimes a trench coat....

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    1. Laughing! Sunglasses work here outside. Trench coats...maybe a couple weeks in the winter :)

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  12. I am total people watcher, one of my favorite pastimes. :)

    Love your method for creating names. Florence Newberry is an awesome character name. Now I'm imagining her in my head too!

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    1. She hangs out in my head a lot. Usually she provides a wry comment or two about some of the other characters and not much about herself.

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  13. I'm with you. Too many stories not enough time to write them!

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  14. Misha, thanks for hosting Carol.

    Carol, what a neat post. I love the idea of naming people after towns. When you mentioned talking about a writer's life I thought maybe it was going to be about lying by the pool eating Bon Bons while the maid served drinks. :)

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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    1. OK...I've laughed for a few minutes over bon-bons by the pool. And the maid. If only!

      I'm a slave to the words and characters and stories that multiply in my head.

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  15. I love maps. I used to have a world map in my office and I would stare at it all the time.

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    1. Mary - When I was a little girl, long before I went to school, I had a wooden puzzle of the U.S. I put it together every day at least once. I may have been about 3. I finally gave it up when I was a teen. My aunt gave me a globe when I was about 6 or 7. I still have it. I would keep it on my desk if there was room - LOL.

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  16. They say a writer should write what they know, so being aware of things around you helps teach you about real life and gives you fertile soil for planting your story ideas or sparking the ideas that flare into stories - whichever metaphor you prefer! lol Nice to meet you, Carol. :)

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  17. Isn't people watching fun? The mall is perfect for people watching, especially during the weekends. Eavesdropping - sometimes you can't help it yet it's a great source of dialogue and modern teen slang.

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    1. Well...I didn't want to mention eavesdropping lest the police think of me as a stalker - LOL. Ssshhhhh...don't tell :)

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  18. I do a lot of people and event watching. :) They're the only things that make crowds and busy places bearable--normally, I hate it when there are a lot of people around.

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  19. I people watch, although I'm not nearly as observant as my wife.

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  20. Golden Eagle - I don't like crowds either.

    Alex - My husband and I see different things. Sometimes very different. And each of us is surprised when the other notices something we thing they wouldn't.

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  21. My husband and I are huge people watchers. I never thought about taking names of cities or towns for character names. That's awesome.

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    1. It's a fun thing to do on road trips, too.

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  22. I love people watching. Even if I can't hear them, watching their expressions and body language is a great study. I need to invest in darker sunglasses lol. I also let my imagination run with the names on street signs (when I'm sitting back in the passenger seat on a road trip).

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  23. Yes to a lot of this writer behavior. I'm a notorious eaves dropper, especially when kids are talking. Like Rula, the body language intrigues me. I'm always making notes. Loved reading about your writer's life.

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  24. Yes to the first two, but for names I look at baby name sites.

    It's great seeing Carol here.

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  25. I use baby name sites, too. I have also been known to scavenge the phone book. I'm not proud - LOL.

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  26. Excellent guest post! I've used maps for name inspiration too.

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  27. I definitely love people watching. People can be so inspiring, and they have no idea ;)

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  28. Misha, thanks so much for hosting me here. I had a great time!

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Thanks for commenting! I love to read what you think.

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