When Life Is Fictionally Unbelievable
I love how funny life can be. You know those moments that leave you rolling, asking yourself, “Did that really just happen?” I write humorous contemporary romance and romantic comedies, so I live for those moments. But the challenge in writing fiction is that what’s unbelievably hysterical in real life often becomes simply unbelievable when translated to the imaginary realm.
Take, for instance, the way I met my friend, Jen. I introduced myself to her over the phone while I was alone in her house. “You don’t know me,” I told her from her kitchen, where I was and she wasn’t, “but I’m in your house and your fish tank is overheating.”
We went on to be very good friends. Which is good, because otherwise those next four years while we lived down the street from one another would’ve been awkward. And while Jen would be highly amused if I used our meeting in a book one day, there’s a part of me that wonders if I could make it believable enough for fiction.
My good friend, Maria Geraci, used a real-life incident in her book, The Boyfriend of the Month Club. Both Maria and her heroine, Grace, chipped a tooth while trying to open a tampon. But the reviewers weren’t having it. That could never happen! they cried. Truth in fiction, gone awry.
I’m still looking for a way to use my favorite real life “morning-after” story. When my friend, “Joe,” pinned on captain in the Air Force, he celebrated his promotion the normal way—he bought round after round at the Officers’ Club bar. At the end of the night, I walked him the quarter-mile across the base golf course to my house so he could sleep off his celebration on the couch. (When we got there, he asked to watch The Princess Bride, but that’s another story.)
I should probably disclose here that my husband was out of town that weekend. And did I mention Joe hadn’t packed an overnight bag, and he was still wearing the uniform of the day? And that the bartender had given him a humongous bunch of balloons? And that the base housing garage sale was the next morning?
Which all led to an officer in dress blues who wasn’t my husband leaving my house with a dozen brightly-colored helium balloons at seven AM on a Saturday while all my neighbors watched, knowing my husband was away.
Now, wouldn’t that make a fabulous scene?
I have used some of my own experiences in my books, and so far, no one has called me out on the believability. Like my heroine, Anna, in Southern Fried Blues, I once had a fire ant infestation in my car. And like Anna, I had a sexy, handsome military man help me solve that problem. A sexy, handsome military man whom I first met through two windows while his best friend was trying on women’s clothing.
True story. And that handsome military man and I even had our happy-ever-after, since we’ve been married twelve years now.
But somehow, I don’t think I’ll get away with using that one in a book.
How about you? Care to share some of your favorite unbelievable life moments? I’m all ears!
(p.s. If you’re a Goodreads member, there’s a giveaway going on now for ten copies of Southern Fried Blues!)
Jamie Farrell writes humorous contemporary romance. She believes love and laughter are two of the most powerful forces in the universe. A native Midwesterner, Jamie has lived in the South the majority of her adult life. When she’s not writing, she and her military hero husband are busy raising three hilariously unpredictable children. Her first book, Southern Fried Blues, is available now. For more information on Jamie and her books, visit her at http://www.JamieFarrellBooks.com.