Monday, May 16, 2011

Why I Need Your Crazy Aunt Myrtle's Dentures

As I writer, I keep my eyes and ears open for interesting settings, unusual people, strange conversations at the coffee house. I jot down these details in case they’re a good fit for a novel or short story I’m working on.

It may just be a germ of an idea that will take root later. For example, the other night my husband said he’d love to know the exact date and time of his death; that it’d make it easier to know how long to work, when to retire, when to take that trip he’s always wanted to take. I disagreed with him (long story) but the point is that I now have a great idea for a short story where a group of couples form a commune off the grid so that they can keep the dates of their children’s deaths a secret from them.

Sometimes I have really great luck in running across ideas. Other times (like now!) I am asking my blog readers to help me.

I am working on novel number three. The main characters are women in their 60s and 70s in a long-standing book club. I have some general ideas of who these women are: one’s a socialite, one’s a hippy, one’s a retired school teacher. But I need to see them in my mind. That’s where you come in.

Do you have a crazy Aunt Myrtle you could describe to me? Does she play with her dentures, eat only beige foods, or garden in the rain? Is your Grandma Hattie a socialite who’s lost all her money and traded in her real jewelry for cubic zirconia?

I’d love to hear any unique, quirky character traits some of your older relatives possess or possessed when they were alive. I may use these details -- or they just may be the germ of an idea that will blossom over time.


  1. Thank you to my *blog shy* followers who emailed me their stories offline. :) Remember, you can change names, only share a small detail. We'd all love to hear your stories!

    For example, my Czech grandmother who spoke limited English was shy about using a telephone. She always held the phone far from her ear. And when she called someone, she asked if they were home. This was the era of land lines only. :)

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