Today I want to get back to a bit of a lighter side despite the fact that I have a million publishing topics to blog about. I realize I have moved away from some of the fun in my blogs and delved straight into the world of the self-published author…not always fun and very gray in the field.
I was thumbing through one of my hardback books and noticed at the very front was the disclaimer stating the events in this book are fiction and not based on people living or dead…blah blah blah. I’m sure you are all very familiar with this disclaimer in books and movies. But as I was plotting out a scene in my next book, “Don’t Take the Girl,” I took a real scene from life and plopped it into print. I try–and hope I succeed–at having drama as well as a splash of comedy in my books, because lets face it, even in real life everyday tragedy there is usually at least one smile. If this is not true of you then please, please, please find something to smile about.
So in this book, I am dealing with a young college woman who is pregnant and not all too thrilled about it, and there really is nothing funny about an unwanted pregnancy. This book is very dim and sentimental in many parts so I wanted to ensure that I found a few happy and fun moments to break up the darkness, much like I did in, “Be Still,” and, “When I Thought I Was Tough.” If you haven’t read them, you should. In one scene where the woman, Gina, feels nauseated, she runs to the bathroom and begins to vomit, “thinking that baby was sure to come up with everything else coming out.” And after a violent and gut retching bout of the heaves, she throws her head back and opens her eyes to complete darkness. Her heart races even faster at the thought that she has some kind of pregnancy induced blindness. “Had she read about that somewhere? Oh well, no mind. She closed her eyes tight and rubbed. Why she did this she was unsure; would she rub the darkness out her eyes?”
So she sits there rubbing until it hurts then opening her eyes to darkness each time. At one point she sticks her finger in her eye just to make sure they are actually open, because it was possible with such blackness that her eyes were still shut. “With the sting of a finger in her eye she plops backward against the cold wall and suddenly feels a pool of liquid around her legs. Are you kidding me? She cried from deep within. Yes, it was exactly what she thought it was: urine. With such a violent force of puking she had also managed to push on her bladder and pee herself and the ground around. There she sat, tears in her eyes, the eyes that had gone into some strange pregnancy blindness, her butt soaked in the warm urine underneath her, her mouth rancid and burning of acid, and she wondered if this was punishment for having unprotected sex with a hot beach bum she barely knew.”
“Then, as she continued to poke at her eyes and stretch the lid of her right eye as high as it would go, she noticed something: there was a small red light. But if she was blind there couldn’t be a light, could there? She wondered. Did she read about blind people seeing lights? It didn’t matter now. She stood up and rubbed again at the eyes she had been assaulting with her finger, which were now burning and in pain. The light grew closer with each step until she could place her hand over it then touch it. It was some kind of switch? She pushed and suddenly the lights went bright, blinding her painfully poked eyes and at the same time she heard her mom yell from the other side of the door, ‘Are you okay in there? Just so you know you have to reset the timer I put on the light switch last night or the lights will shut off on you.’ Gina hit her head against the wall then slid down in angst. This is one to tell my kid about.”
How does that relate to real life drama? I was the person in that scene, over five years ago, pregnant with my little girl who turns 5-years-old today. I was at work at the hospital and the smell of poop made me sick so I ran to the bathroom and puked so violently I pee’d my scrubs, and yes, when I opened my eyes it was dark and I really did think I went into some pregnancy induced blindness. And yes, it was the timer on the wall that had gone out. However, I did not think I was being punished for having unprotected sex with a hot beach bum. I simply assumed I had went blind. Trivial and funny today, life altering and not so funny in the moment of thinking you have pregnancy induced blindness or had literally puked your eyes out!
True life can sometimes make for the best scenes in a book. It is much easier for me to write about things I know than things I don’t. And when life gives you drama that is stranger than fiction, then I say turn it into fiction. I keep a running log/journal of strange things I have heard of or had happen to me, so when I need a little craziness in a scene I look at my log and pick something that fits in. Of course I change names and skew the events so people don’t come throwing poop at my front door, but real life drama turned fiction sometimes makes for one amazing retelling of strange events. So don’t be afraid to add a little real life drama into your book, and if you can look back and laugh about it or muster the courage to talk about it then take the next big step and blog about. The scenes in my books that most people really talk about are the ones that really happened. I truly think it is because it is personal and I can tell you exactly how I felt, not guess at it.
Happy Birthday Jorja-Rayne! I’m sure I’ll be writing about the mad adventures of assembling your two-wheeler, big girl bike someday.
I am the author of two books, my latest book, “Be Still,” received the Editor’s Choice and Rising Star awards. Follow me at my home page, TaniaLRamos.com to see what I am up to and to see the book trailer.