Friday, September 24, 2010

Putting Passion into Fiction

Undercover Officer Cole side-stepped piles of dirty clothes, plastic bottles with green tubes, boxes of Sudafed, acetone, Drano, liquid fire and other meth paraphernalia in the run-down trailer on his way to Ryan’s crib—the two-year old who lay crying hysterically in another room. Cole found him in a soiled diaper on a mattress cluttered with the powder of his parent’s meth lab. Red oozing sores covered his once chubby legs as the toddler reached up for Cole to hold him.

Officer Cole lifted Ryan and squeezed him to his chest, soothing his hiccuped sobs, and fighting his own tears. The stench of rotting flesh, garbage and human feces surrounded him as he walked into the boy’s mother’s bedroom. He found her sitting on her filthy bed bone-thin, with rotting teeth, and her hair limp around her hallowed face. She gripped a knife gouging at the bloodied sore on her arm seemingly determined to extract the bug that she thought had invaded her body.

The excerpt above is fiction based on facts I learned at a public awareness meeting I attended in our county last night. This type of scenario is happening all over America, but our state—Indiana—is the second leading state in the production of meth labs. (California is the first.)

Can you believe that? I couldn’t, but I do now.

  • Sixty-six percent of our jails house meth-related inmates. These aren’t bad people. They’re your brothers, cousins, sisters and parents who range in age from 18 – 62.
  • Eighty-eight percent of our county’s recovery homes are filled with families affected by meth costing tax-payers huge dollars.
  • Ninety percent of first-time users (both rich and poor, male and female) become addicted after their first use.
  • Meth’s feel-good affect triggers five times more endorphins in the brain than sex, eating chocolate or watching Notre Dame beat Michigan. So, no wonder they want more. No wonder addicts will steal, neglect their children and lose their jobs for it.
  • The best solution to the problem is to get pseudoephedrine off the shelves and make it a prescription drug. That’s all. Oregon did this and their meth labs are now almost non-existent

Why am I telling you this? What does this have to do with fiction?


As writers it’s our responsibility to put REAL current events into our fiction to make people aware, to make them care, to motivate them to help—to elicit emotions. Look around your community for the stories to base your fiction on.

God gave us the gift of writing. It’s our responsibility to write about life’s real problems, things happening all around us that affect our community. Why? Because we can… because we know how to show readers the world using word illustrations.

Yes, there will always be someone who can write a story better than you or me, but I believe if we’re writing about those things we’re passionate about we’ll sell our stories. We’ll move others, persuade them and in the process feel like we matter… like we’re making a difference.

Are you putting your passions into your fiction?

PS. Please write or call your state legislature to take pseudoephedrine off the shelves.


  1. So true. That picture, really sets it off. That's the type of background I strive to one day set for my own readers. Kudos!

  2. SO POWERFUL! WOW! Yep, that's why we write -- may we never forget. . .

  3. I came from Oregon and have seen the huge impact of Meth. It was an incovenience at first to not be able to get certain OTC drugs anymore, in fact many people just drove across the river to get them in WA. I am thankful for the progress made, and thankful you brought this to light