Imagination plus life experience creates story

Imagination comes in handy for writing fiction. For instance, I ‘remember’ seeing a mini octopus in the stream around the corner from my house during my childhood.

It was real, Mom. Sure it was, honey. I’ll prove it!

I grabbed my Polaroid camera and went back to the stream. No octopus.  Maybe tomorrow. After several days and never seeing the creature again, I gave up. Okay, so maybe it was my imagination. Then again, maybe the octopus was shy and hiding behind one of the small rocks. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

I loved my imagination then, and I still love it now.

In writing non-fiction about places to visit, people to know, or things to do in NH, I rely on my past real experiences.

But what I love most is combining imagination and life experience.

For instance, in the image below is a large tree that I see when I walk up my road.

large pine tree with a swoop at the bottom

Let's dance, Tree.

It probably isn’t big news that there are trees in New Hampshire, right? There are a lot of pine trees, in particular, too. So it’s hard to think any one tree would stand out.

But the moment I saw this, I thought “dance”. I see a swirl starting with a pine bough in the center of this portion of the tree that angles down to the right. (The green seems longer on the right side.) And the non-needled branches add to the swirling sensation. (And the brown branches seem shorter than the green.)

This tree makes me think about a dress swooping around as a woman twirls around her partner. It may even be a poodle skirt with petticoat in the midst of a twirl. Can you see it?

If you’re familiar with Hip Hop Abs, there’s a dance move called the “throw down.” It’s where two arms cross in front with fisted hands toward the floor and the back leg extends in the same direction. There’s a ‘swish’ as the arms come across the body and down.

Thanks to my imagination and ‘hip hop’ dance experience, this tree has become more than just another pine tree in the state. How could I not write about this tree?

I’m ready to dance, are you?

Have you noticed when your reality and imagination collide in your writing?

Lisa Jackson is an independent editor, writer, journalist, and chocolate lover. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. © Lisa J. Jackson, 2011