Keeping Busy and Other Stuff

Busy, busy, busy. That’s life right now. The editing has picked up the pace (yay!), my writing seems to have taken on a life of its own (double yay!), and my niece is having a happy hyper day that’s keeping me hopping. Life is good.

Now for the other stuff. I’ve been thinking a lot about the military lately, and I keep coming back to one question: With all the novels involving military service members, how many of them show what it’s like for those who serve their enlistment, then return to civilian life? And of those, how many give an accurate portrayal?

This has my overactive idea-producing brain tossing out ideas for stories that I may or may not write. I have no idea what life is like for veterans from the current war as they reintegrate into their lives here at home after a long deployment. Those who have suffered severe injuries that leave permanent damage are even more complex to me. Then there’s the high occurrence of PTSD among those who have served in Iraq, the difficulty of multiple tours, and dozens of other things that make up today’s veterans.

What I’d need to do to write any of the ideas I have is find veterans willing to tell me what their time in the military (and since) was like in mind-numbing detail and answer dumb, possibly stereotyped questions so I can make sure I get it right. I’d also need to talk to doctors, psychiatrists, etc. for some of the ideas I have so I get the facts straight. The last thing I want to do is perpetuate any of the myths and stereotypes so rampant today. I’d much rather give an accurate picture and show people that veterans are just people who served in the military, not some alien species outside our realm of understanding to be looked at with pity.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about lately is politics. Whether on TV, radio, the Internet, and even conversations, politics is the popular topic. About all I’ve decided is that the most persuasive candidate is the one who wins in any given election. This isn’t to say it’s the best candidate, just the one with the most people skills. Of course, the candidates for the major national offices also have good copywriters who take care of making their candidate sound like the most wonderful person on earth. All that campaign literature is written by someone, and I have to give props to the people who like politics enough to do the job.

Here’s a bit of advice for anyone struggling to come up with a new plot: watch the news. Read the newspaper. Get into a conversation on current events. There are myriad ideas in the world around you just waiting for you to find them. Just remember that when you find that perfect idea and begin your story, keep your facts straight. Readers will appreciate accurate fiction much more than fiction filled with stereotypes and false information that’s easily debunked. Of course, false information and stereotypes could form the basis for a character or even a plot… But that’s an idea for another day.

Happy writing!

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