Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Writing Under the Influence!

What influences you to read a book? The setting? The characters? The plot? The suspense? The humor? The sexiness? The thrill? So see, as readers, we even read under the influence. :)

So what influences us to write? In Destiny of the Wolf, the heroine was in a vehicle accident. I was in that accident. I saw the air bag inflate. Felt the pain from it. Also in Destiny of the Wolf, the heroine must rappel off a mountain. I've done that. She turned upside down by accident. Who would do such a thing on purpose? :) Except when I did it, that time was off a five-story building. And it was embarrassing. So what influenced me to write scenes like this? Actually living them, except changing them a little to suit the story...different time of year, different location, werewolf vs. human. LOL :)

What influenced me to write To Tempt the Wolf was that I used to visit the Oregon coast a lot when I lived in Tigard, suburb of Portland. And I loved it. But I also had read some historical stories where a hero had been shipwrecked and I'd always loved the premise. So instead of shipwrecked, Hunter Greymere faces a werewolf pack and ends up in the Pacific Ocean, rescued by the heroine, Tessa Anderson, who soon needs his protection. We were on the coast road in the wintertime while some wild---I won't say what my dad actually called them, kids tore on past us in the icy conditions. Sure enough, we went around a bend in the narrow road and their car had left the road, only stopped from barreling deep into the gorge because sturdy fir trees had stopped them. But they were in a precarious way even so. So yep, that was in the story too. Plus I'd read about an Army Special Forces officer who had ended up in a ravine like that and with broken bones and freezing weather conditions, managed to finally crawl his way up to the road after hours of making the effort, knowing he'd never be found and die if he didn't. So stories like this help to influence me to write some of my scenes.

In my current work in progress, Seduction of the Wolf, I was totally inspired by the stories of wolf bioligists and how they try to educate the general populace about wolves. So my heroine happens to be a wolf biologist...werewolf wolf biologist. :)

In Legend of the White Wolf, I was talking to my son about silver poisoning over a fajita dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and he pulled out his phone and started researching it. LOL And that became the basis for part of my story. I also loved that the ancient Cree in some areas thought wolves were divine or magical creatures that had come down from heaven when the aurora borealis danced across the night sky, hence, the legend of the werewolves. :)

So definitely, research influences. :)
The question then is do you read or write under the influence???
(c) Terry Spear, 2009, Whimsical Muse


  1. Oh, and free To Tempt the Wolf ARC at Lori's Reading Corner! http://lorisreadingcorner.blogspot.com/2009/07/book-giveaway-to-tempt-wolf-by-terry.html

  2. Love listening to your stories that made it into the story, Terry. I find there's a little bit of my life in the stories, not necessarily my experiences (although being a chicken when it comes to sharks and the ocean is something I own these days!), but maybe something I've heard, read, etc.

  3. I use all sorts of real events in my books. In fact, many times I go into an experience thinking that very thing. Great post!

  4. Thanks, Judi! We lived in Florida for a number of years and one time I swam WAY out to sea...Didn't realize it. My dad, who wasn't the best of swimmers, was trying to swim out to get my attention. I was floating on my back, my ears under water. Getting nearer the rock jetty where they'd just pulled in a shark. Believe me, when I realized how far out I was and how dark and black the ocean was, how very, very deep, and how really small I was comparatively speaking...I just kept telling myself, don't panic...there's nothing in the dark waters swimming around you, beneath you, eyeing you for their next meal. And I kept telling myself I could make the long swim back through the breakers. No problem. And then JAWS came to the theaters. :) Years later, I actually swam in a tank of sharks once, I think it was in New Orleans. :)

    Thanks, Cheryl! It helps sometimes, although everyone's experience can be different, but feeling the terror, and how you react makes for characterization. When I flipped upside down rappeling, I laughed. I just thought wouldn't you know of all the ROTC cadets, I would have to be the one to do this. In front of everyone. LOL :)I never thought in a million years I'd write it in a story!!! So now I just figure, when I experience things that make me uncomfortable...it could be in a story someday!

  5. For me, people I meet often inspire characters. A couple of weeks ago my fifteen year old split open his chin skateboarding and we ended up in the pediatric wing of the emergency room. When the doctor came in to the room, I assumed he was a tech. He had to be about six five, had a prizefighter's nose, and hands the size of Michael Jordan's. His name tag bore a 10 syllable Italian name.
    I was fascinated as this giant delicately stitched up my kid's face, and thought: now there is a character for my next book. . .

  6. Loved reading your post, Terry. Did you really jump off a five story building?!? Wow! I don't have what it takes for that sort of thing.

    I seldom use real life expierences in my books, but you do it very well!


  7. It's all grist for the mill, Terry. People, places, things that have happened to me. Things I WISH had happeded to me. :-)

  8. Rosemary, how true, great characterizations can be found in real people. A girl was waiting on us at a cloth store, and afterward, my daughter said, "What did you notice about her?" She was a Goth, black lipstick, skulls on her black shirt, black eyeshadow, multiple piercings, and I described where, blue streak in her black dyed hair.

    My daughter said, "She's a cutter, been in a hospital, hospital band on wrist, wears it proudly, white streak in her hair." She hadn't noticed the skull shirt, black lipstick and eyeshadow, or some of the piercings, but saw some others, or the other colored streak. But the cuttings made the character really distinctive. An eye for detail when making up fictional characters while observing real people can be interesting for sure! But I have to take my daughter with me to catch all the details. LOL

    Amelia, well, more like terrifyingly climbed out a window, and tried to keep my body parallel to the ground, which was where I got into trouble and ended up with not enough or too much slack on the ropes and turned upside down. LOL. But I have a fear of heights, so not fun. We had to rappel off a tower and mountain climb. I loved mountain climbing. There's something about rappelling off a completely flat object that is scary. :) Some cadets opted for the Australian rappel. Going face first. Not for me!!! I could see not stopping in time and skinning my nose. :)

    LOL, MM, yeah, if I could ONLY find a hunky werewolf when I need the yard mowed or ...other stuff done. :)

  9. GREAT post, Terry!

    I'm with MM, it is ALL grist for the mill! I'm always surprised at things from my real life that pop up in my books. I think I've mentioned before that the cottage in The Wild Sight where my hero lived as a child was the cottage my DH's grandmother was born and raised in. It's still in the family and we were able to see it.

    Likewise TToV, some of the locales I saw (and smelled) for myself when I visited Venice. :-)


  10. I'm sure that's what makes it all feel so real - writing under the influence of memory. Some memories more than others I guess, or some better hid.

  11. I agree, Cindy, and that's terrific you could use a house that was in the family's. :)

    For sure, Sheila, but it's amazing how much you forget so soon after an incident occurs if you don't write it down right away! :)