Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weaving Real Life Stories into Fiction ~ INTERACTIVE POST

I love to weave real life stories into my work. In fact, research is what I love most.

My writing has taken a darker turn. I've always loved writing paranormals but now they border on romantic horror. Can the two even exist together? I think so. What blended genres do you enjoy reading?

Have any of you used a true story or legend to build a story? I did this with Nocturnally Vexed when I incorporated Jack-the-Ripper into my paranormal romance. I'd love to hear about your story building techniques.

I'm fascinated with ghosts. Voodoo Moon contains the true story of Annie Palmer, owner of Rose Hall Plantation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I've been to the plantation and believe me, it's pretty creepy. As legend goes, she killed several of her husbands and called many slaves to her room. She had them all killed as well. I used the premise of this legend to build Voodoo Moon while incorporating paranormal elements, magick and voodoo rituals.

Here's the photos of Rose Hall Plantation from the front and back. Note the back high window where Annie stood every morning giving out orders to her slaves. The first picture is her grave. The slaves built an above ground tomb to ensure that her spirit would not walk the earth. I don't think it worked. There have been many sightings of The White Witch. Her room in particular is extra spooky. Her face has been seen in the bedroom mirror. You can google her name and find many ghost photos.

Happy Haunting, Happy Reading and Have Fun Weaving Real Life into Your Work!


Ciara Ballintyne said...

I write fantasy. It's very common for fantasy to use the myths and legends of our world to build a myth, legend or religion. It's a lot easier to take inspiration from something that already exists than to build all these elements from the ground up. The same goes for cultures as well. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time uses the names of demons and evil spirits as inspiration for the clan names of his monsters. My personal sticking points are little details like clothing and trading goods etc. It's much easier to borrow this stuff from ancient cultures and refer to it if needed than invent it - and then not need it!

I'm not 100% sure as it's been a while since I read it but I think one of Diana Gabaldon's books may borrow from the legend of Annie Palmer as well (she may even have used this name, since she writes historical fiction, but I don't recall that precisely). Certainly the character in question had a habit of killing husbands and summoning slaves to her bed and she was a witch.

Alisha said...

Excellent points, Ciara. Mostly I love to weave real life stories/legends into fiction because often people already know the story/legend and there is already interest there. And because it just makes the story more real. I did quite a bit of world building for Circle City with zero use of real life and though it was quite a challenge, that in itself was fun to create an entire new world with its own set of gods and godesses.