February 20, 2012

making a story her own

Blogger's note: I asked One Pink Line author Dina Silver what research she did in preparation for her book. It turns out being a good friend and listener can shape a story and give it life.

(Read my review of One Pink Line here.)

By Dina Silver
Guest blogger

I didn’t need to do a ton of research for One Pink Line, because a girlfriend of mine and her life experiences were the inspiration for the book. She opened up to me about herself one day, and what she told me turned out to be one of my favorite things: a great love story!

After hearing details about her youth, I took her to lunch one afternoon, equipped with a pad of paper and a bowl of French onion soup, and picked her brain. I specifically asked her not to give too many details, just the chain of events that lead her to where she is now. It was important for me to be true to her story, but to make the book my own, and make certain that is was pure fiction.

Other than that, my planning typically includes a glass of wine, my two cats and my computer. And assuming my son is at school, I can get a lot of great writing done.

As for tips, hmm…

Most of the tips I read from other people tend to sound cliché and repetitive. But one of the most repetitive ones I’ve seen, turned out to be a really good one for me personally, so I’m going to share it. Read the book On Writing by Stephen King. I bought this book three years ago when some local, snobbish woman from Northwestern University read something I’d written, and her response was for me to read this book. Needless to say, I ran out to the now extinct Borders in my area and bought it. However, it wasn’t until this past Christmas break that I read it. And loved it.

I have never read a Stephen King book. I have seen and enjoyed some of the movie adaptations of his books, but never read one. On Writing was the first. And what I learned was that he writes like I do...sorta. He writes when he’s inspired (albeit much more often than me). He writes without story outlines or character studies. He tries to write every day. And he reads a lot (this last one is my new year’s resolution). He also inspired me to do one of the hardest things, and that is to DELETE! Sometimes I feel like I’m writing just to fill a quota in my head, but then when I re-read it, it seems unnecessary to the story, and I hate to delete thousands of words. It kills me! But after I read this book, I truly understand that less is more.

My last tip would be, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Write when you feel like writing. Don’t force it. Because when you’re truly in the mood to write, and truly inspired by your story, the words will flow so much easier.

Author Bio:
A graduate of Purdue University, Dina Silver has spent the past fifteen years feeding her red wine habit by working as a copywriter in the advertising industry. After seeing the bulk of her professional prose on brochures and direct mail pieces, she is delighted to have made the transition to novelist. She currently lives with her husband and son in suburban Chicago, where she is working on her next book. Inspired by a true story, One Pink Line is Dina’s debut novel.

Connect with Dina!
Twitter: @DinaSilver 

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