Visual Media – a Writer’s Advantage

- by Patricia Rosemoor

For years I’ve known movies and television have informed my writing. How could they not influence me? Movies have given me nuggets that I’ve twisted and turned into fun plot ideas. Documentaries have given me research I couldn’t get any other way. Soap operas have given me internal conflicts for characters that I’ve managed to re-envision to work for my story.

And HGTV gave me careers for the characters of my July Harlequin Intrigue, DEAL BREAKER.

HGTV…who would have guessed?

No cop, no detective, no special ops guy in sight for this story.

Yep, watching the Home and Garden channel has influenced more than my taste in housing or design. I knew I wanted to set a book in Lake Geneva and I wanted a grand old but slightly decrepit estate for sale that was…well, haunted. One that held an old, dangerous secret.

What better way to get my heroine Hailey Wright involved in that house than to make her a real estate agent?

All the shows that I have watched about staging homes for sale gave me something for Hailey to do that draws her into the mystery. She doesn’t just list and sell houses, she creates a plan of repairs, improvements and yes, staging, to make them more saleable.

Which gives her access to the old mansion, the former occupant haunting it and the secret that puts her life in danger.

My hero, Bryce McKenna, is a part time occupant of McKenna Ridge, the family home on the lake. I needed a way to involve him in the estate, as well, so I made him a Chicagoan who runs a development company in Chicago. The company takes old spaces like abandoned factories and turn them into condos. But the company is hurting financially and he needs a partner, one who wants to buy in Lake Geneva.

Of course the buyer wants the estate the heroine is going to sell, and Bryce is an expert on renovations, so that makes the hero more involved in the old mansion and with Hailey, whom he marries as part of a business deal.

Don’t underestimate the power of visual media to influence writing stories. Sometimes they’re an author’s salvation.

Fess up here. What movies or television programs have given you what you’ve needed for one of your stories?


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