As much as I hate to say it, for the majority of authors, their writing is their avocation rather than their vocation and I am no exception to that rule. I write because I enjoy it and because someday I would like to do it for a living. In the meantime, I have to work for a living like all the rest of you.
It is not that I don’t think writing is work, it is and sometimes it is very hard work, its just that I think of writing as a pleasurable experience, something I can do without anyone telling me what to do and this is not always the case in the “real world” business environment. So, I get up each day and (hi ho, hi ho) it is off to work I go.
For the past two and half years, the place I trudge to is biotech whose main business is making breast implants. I’d write a sitcom about the place but no one would believe it. Anyway, for several months of this time, I worked in one large building that was virtually empty. I know for sure that I was the only person working on the second floor. Most of this time, I worked in a secured file room and though I am not one who frightens easily, if at all, there were times when I heard noises that I did not think I should be hearing. I can’t say for sure if these noises were just in my mind or if they were produced by workers outside of the building but one day, when I started to go into the men’s room, I could have sworn I heard a noise come from inside it.
That was bad enough but when I opened the door, the self lighting unit did not activate right away so I was left standing in dim light for a few seconds. When the lighting did come up, staring back at me were three empty stalls and two urinals–which all seemed to be laughing at my unease.
It was during those few seconds between darkness and light that a story came to me. I call it There is a Monster in the Bathroom and it is available in my collection of stories in Angel and the Bear.
When I wrote the story, I wrote it just as it happened, right down to the layout of the floor I was on, the only exception being that there was no monster in there making those noises. As I usually do, I let some of my friends read the story before I published it and several of those friends are people I work with. Everyone of them guessed correctly that I set the story in the other building outside of the bathrooms located there, so I guess I got the details right.
As a writer, I think using people and places you know well as models is important because since you know them so well, you can write in detail about them. This is an instance where the location of the event was of primary importance because all of the characters in the story were pure fiction, including the muscular man who was working alone on the second floor…
Angel and the Bear: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KZ3QF8I