As I said in an earlier blog, like most writers, I’m often asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” Well, in my case, I get them from two sources. Let’s talk about the primary source in this blog and a different source in the next one.
The first source is this: often a single image or idea will pop into my head from all the reading I do. For example, years ago I wrote my first novel* as a result of persistent news stories going around about a very peculiar topic – all the ills of the world were caused by dead white men (don’t ask me to explain how this whole meme got started!).
Well, my reaction was, “Yeah, white guys (Hitler, Stalin, etc.) have caused a lot of bad things to happen, but other white men also have come up with some pretty good things as well – Shakespeare, Einstein, etc.”
But that got me thinking…what if one white guy somehow became like the Biblical Job, only in present-day America and somehow was afflicted with all the ills of the modern world? Instead of boils, he’d be falsely accused of child molestation. Instead of a great wind killing his children, a great storm of relentless negative press would cause him to be hunted relentlessly by law enforcement…and so forth.
This resulted in the creation of that first novel and its main character, Everett Pick, an alcoholic school teacher chased out of town and across the country all because one unhappy student and his father falsely accuse him of molestation.
The story ended up being an examination of American life in which religious, political and governmental forces converge on poor Everett and do their best to hammer him into the ground. But, at heart, like any decent American man (white, black, Latino, Asian, etc.), he’s simply doing the best he can and surviving everything thrown at him.
All this resulted from a single image/idea.*
*By the way, as I said, this was my first novel published as The Relentless Pursuit of Everett Pick and also as American Job. Because it was my first, I made all kinds of blunders. Also, I couldn’t afford an editor at the time. So, don’t buy the book. Or, if you do, be prepared for mistakes.