My old novel, the one I’m trying to get out the door now like a twenty-something child that’s overstayed their childhood, has a few plot points and characters in it that people will assume I pulled from own life.
And they’d be wrong.
For example, there is a Quebecois character who predates my teaching stint in Quebec, who predates me even imagining I’d ever live there, by three years. And I have scientists using MRI scanning in their brain research that predates me working for MRI brain scientists by six years. Now, I’ll grant you that these weird life coincidences were an unexpected windfall for researching story elements that already existed, but since the life experiences were jobs that I managed to get out of the blue, it’s not like I took those jobs to do research for my novel.
There are other things people might assume I know very little about that I didn’t read in a book, like the Native American character who is based partially on my old live-in girlfriend of four years.
So where did I get the idea for a French Canadian character and using MRIs as a research tool? Who knows, I honestly don’t remember. But I’m sitting here this morning bemoaning the fact that one of the major plot points of my new story appears to be a major plot point of Season 4 of True Blood. Now, granted, I can’t say that for sure yet, having only seen two episodes so far, but there will be people who will assume I took my plot from that, even though it predates the season by two years and was an attempt, when I came up with it, to turn a common fantasy trope on its ear.
There are no new stories, I guess, only new angles.