Something I keep in mind as I write When We Were the Kids is the idea of plausibility. This is a fictional story, but almost all of the events happened in real life. For the remaining percentage that never happened to me or anyone I knew, I ask myself, "Is this plausible?"
For example, a few weeks ago, I came up with an idea for a outside show that takes place in a perfect environment for a metal band. I won't say where this was, but since most of this DIY rock scene is about playing nontraditional venues, it's the kind of place you could brag about years later.
The deal is, this never happened in my time and it never happened to someone I knew. But if I explain the plausibility, there's no danger of this becoming pure fantasy, right?
Another example: I wrote this down earlier today after an experience I had Saturday night seemed to mesh with something I experienced a few years ago at a local show. Something seems weird and kinda funny when I hear rednecks with a thick, Southern drawl talking about things that you never hear rednecks talk about.
In particular, I heard a couple of people go on and on about Joy Division a few years ago while I waited for the Crash That Took Me to take stage. Then last Saturday night, while browsing for a few Stephen King books that I don't have, I heard a couple of guys talk quite in depth about Star Wars books that take place long after the events in Return of the Jedi.
Morphing the stories together, I came up with this idea where two major characters encounter some rednecks at a show. Instead of talking about monster truck shows and porn stars, these guys (complete with big beards, mesh hates, and Star Wars tattoos) go on and on about how awesome Peter Hook is on bass.
I asked myself about the plausibility of encountering something like this at a trashy bar in town, and I didn't hesitate.
This is a great example of how fun it is to combine real life with total fiction and come up with a fictional story on its own. I'm not somebody who wants to write a story fact-for-fact, beat-for-beat with only changing the names of the people and places. Based on the experiences I've had in bands since 1994, there's a story to tell, even if parts of it are completely fictional.