How do we writers find our topics? How do we decide what to write about?
The author Michael Connelly–whose work I haven’t yet read, but now will–talks about this topic in two interesting articles today. His angle is actually not finding a topic, but what happens when the subject he has already found turns out to have eerie overtones in real life. The interviews are quite poignant. Mr. Connelly’s connection to his material is intense, and he communicates that wonderfully.
Suspense and mystery novelists write about terrible things. So do many literary and women’s fiction and fantasy and other writers. Why we write about them is too big a topic for a blog, or at least for this post tonight, but what I am going to say something about is how we find these topics.
I have written about the death of a toddler twenty-five years in the past, an abducted family, a husband who never shows up to meet his wife after work, an octogenarian who torments a new mother (or does he?) and a little girl who must face the man who molested her, among other topics.
And the reason I write about them is this.
I write to ward off fear. I write because I am all too aware of the thin line between reality and horror, the moment when everything changes that is so instantaneous we can never see it coming, the befores and afters of our lives. I write to show, or acknowledge, that there but for the grace go I.
Why do you write what you do? Please let me know.