Reality vs. Fiction

I admit it. I am addicted to reality TV– some of it anyway. I find that certain shows hold the same hypnotic pull over me as that of a good juicy novel, without the work. Of course, Real Housewives of “anywhere” should not be a substitute for a genuine good read, but it does make for some interesting insights into human behavior. And for me, that makes such viewing not just a guilty pleasure, but a great source of inspiration.

What better way to study nuances of characterization, plot arcs, and dialogue? Watching these shows is like having a window into the minds of some of the most interesting characters never written. Not to mention, look at all the things you learn about pop culture and vernacular by just “hanging out” with your not-so-real gal pals; and the places you can go vicariously tagging along with these fictional vixens is a bonus. You get VIP inclusion into an exclusive clique that you would never otherwise be granted entry. Again, it’s like curling up with a good book in the pedicure chair and letting yourself get caught up in the drama and the dish. I for one, use these little binge morsels to feed my author habit. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this is the world that I write about in my novels. Such shows speak to my fascination with wealth and celebrity as it pertains to how I serve this genre to my readers.

Reality TV comes in many forms and categories, for sure. There is something for everyone and any writer worth their words can find inspiration in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. News and information constantly stream into our lives via social media, television, print, and/or water cooler talk. Anything is fair game. If it interests you, it would probably interest your readers. I once wrote a short story based solely on a Bruce Springsteen song. Inspiration abounds in artistry and outlets that already exist. Your job is to take it to the page and create a fabulous, riveting, unique story, or poem, or screen play.

When I watch the news, I am often shocked at how some of the top stories unfold, proving that truth can be — and often is, stranger than fiction. There is so much to be gleaned from world events, natural phenomena, and challenges of humanity from the subtle to the profound that speak to the human spirit and tap into the fears and dreams of all humankind.  It is worth a close or second look really, if you find yourself reaching for a glint of inspiration. When I tap into the REAL reality that is spinning around us right now…when I see people risk their lives in tiny boats to cross the raging sea to freedom; reality stars run for president; and brave souls like Caitlyn Jenner transform from being lost to finally being found, I wonder if indeed truth “trumps” (pun intended) the dreams of poets.

~ Jamie


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