Friday, December 11, 2015

Reading newspapers and weaving real life incidents into our stories

I have always admired writers who weave real life incidents into their stories. Even when they call their manuscript a work of fiction, there is a strong trace of a real incident/event/ in their stories. I wish I could do that. Infact, one writer told me she looks through the newspapers for inspiration for her stories/novels. 

According to her the newspapers are full of happenings, interesting incidents and small news items that trigger ideas in her head.

When she confessed this to me, I gulped. I definitely read the lead news, but other than that, my eyes just skim/glaze through the rest of the paper. Infact, you can even accuse me of missing many a small news and features all the time.

I have decided that I will take a page from her book (I know I won’t find inspiration for my Middle Grade stories in the newspapers.) But I am going to spend some time every morning reading the newspaper, glance at the rest of the stories which don’t make it to the first page. Who knows what ideas this may trigger.

Though I do advise my creative writing students to read the newspaper daily, I don’t follow what I preach. I know it’s bad of me. But it’s going to change now.

Here comes my question now. Do you all read the newspapers and by that I mean actually read (and not just glance through it)? Another question, if you were to weave a real life incident in your story, which would it be?

P.S. We get so many newspapers at home, just imagine the vast number of story ideas I must have missed. Sigh. Will be careful now.

P.P.S. As I am taking a short break, this will be my last post for 2015. I will be back on Wednesday 6th January 2016 with my first IWSG post of the year. Take care. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance.


  1. I don't read every single article, but if a smaller one catches my eye, I do read it. I think it'd be easier to get ideas for adult stories than MG and YA from the newspaper.

  2. Sometimes news items strike me, but I'm not sure exactly why some do and some don't. It's usually something odd or it gets me asking questions about the motivations involved etc. I print them out, file them away for possible future ideas.

  3. I don't read every article. I'm a browser. I browse through Time Magazine the same way.But I agree with Natalie, that newspapers offer more to the writer of adult stories than children's authors. When I do weave real life into my MG/YA fiction, it's from historical research rather than current events. I seem always to have a foot in the past.

    Have a good break, Rachna. Looking forward to your return.

  4. I still get the print copy of our newspaper and read it thoroughly each morning. Usually it takes two cups of coffee to get through the whole thing (maybe three cups on an unusually interesting news day). I even read some of the Sports pages. I haven't come up with too many story ideas, but do find things occasionally that trigger ideas for blog posts or social media updates.

  5. I don't read the paper every morning, but I do read it occasionally. I can see how there would be lots of seeds for stories. Hope you read some articles that get you thinking of stories!

    Enjoy your break! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

  6. I do that Rachna - fiction based on true incidents. These might be from my own experiences or from what I read or hear in the news. There are many real life stories I hear from people which trigger a central plot for a story. Enjoy your break. Happy holidays!

  7. Yes, I do read newspapers, but not as much since my move a year ago. We have a much smaller local paper, but even there, I have found news worth clipping out. My idea for a novel involving a jewel theft came from an article years ago. I have a stack of clippings. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  8. My mornings are incomplete without newspapers. I get 3 dailies, one ET and a local newspaper. And yes, I read all of them. Can miss breakfast but not my newspapers. :) wish you a very happy new year Rachna.

  9. There's so much info out there today that no one has time to wade through it all. I like to read some news, but too much of it makes me sad. I find real life right around me has inspiration aplenty:)

  10. i started watching the news more so i could be more informed - but i think subconsciously i was getting ideas, now that you mention it! i will be more aware now - great idea!

    happy 2016!

  11. Hey Rachna! Missed you for IWSG day. Hope everything is all right.

  12. HI, Rachna,

    Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed your month long hiatus!

    Sadly, I never read the newspaper. Way too depressing for me. Mostly murders, shootings, rapes, and break ins. Chicago is a very violent city. There are also tons of stories about politicians... HA>..again, this is the most corrupt city in this country, so I stay clear away from the news.

    I may be less educated about what is happening, but I hear things on TV and I do glance at stories on the internet.

    Hope all is well, and ALL THE BEST for 2016!

  13. Best wishes for the New Year, Rachna!

  14. I would say 99% of what I write comes from actual incidents, and sometimes I do think news stories can inspire us. From what I understand, it works for "Law and Order."