Another newsletter for my website.
| Hello From St. John's,
We have all heard it "Write what you know", and one of my first stories was written with the place I grew up in in mind. It was called, "Murder and a Missing Welfare Check".
I grew up in a small town that was mostly policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. My imaginary town was close to the capital city of the province I live in, so they used the police force of that city. There was the usual wait that we contended with for the police to respond. That was straight from my own experience.
The main character was caught up in the mystery of the murder of her neighbor. In all small towns everyone knows everyone else. It would be common to know all about what was going on with your neighbors. It turned out that Margery, my main character, found that her welfare check was late, and she went to her the homes of her neighbors to see if it got accidentally put into one of their mail boxes. Incidents like this happened more when I was a teenager. Welfare recipients usually went down to their Social Service Office to get their checks before that. But, people did occasionally go searching for misplaced welfare checks when they did not arrive in the mail on time.
As for the characters, the story was made up of poorer people and the cop that was investigating the murder. I grew up with a great deal of families that received Welfare. I patterned my characters around the people that lived my town. There were some wealthier families, but the majority were poor and living on assistance like the characters in my story.
The town itself was a great deal like the town in which I grew up. The people tended to get involved in each other's lives. They all knew each other's routines. In the story, Margery knows there is something wrong because it looks like her neighbor is not up yet, but the stray cat that he took care of had been fed.
The characters in my story had a generally laid back outlook. This was the norm for my neighbors when I was growing up. Everyone dealt with everyday concerns like the soap operas and who was cutting through their field.
The cop in my story was a good indication of the cops we dealt with in my childhood. He was concerned about the crimes he investigated but knew the people concerned intimately. Generally, it was surprising when something serious happened. In my childhood, a murder was not committed in my town.
Everything that comprised the setting and attitudes in "Murder and a Missing Welfare Check" was taken from where I grew up and the people I dealt with on a day to day basis.
I was happy with the way the story turned out. Unfortunately, the story itself did not get published, but it was true to life. Some of the people on WDC even got a laugh out of it. I had tried to make it a bit humorous. I was gratified to see that I succeeded.
Not everything that you write will succeed. You can make very enjoyable, readable stories from the things you have experienced. It is easier to take from your own experience.
All The Best,