If you have been writing for any length of time, I am sure you have a manuscript that stalled and no matter what you did there was no way to get it going again. So you threw it in a drawer and said, Maybe someday....
A couple of years ago I started a manuscript entitled Bullet Alley about an ex-cop and defense attorney racing to clear a woman wrongly accused of murder and up against corrupt city officials doing their best to see she's convicted for reasons of their own. The story stalled when I could not come up with a proper "frame" for the woman; I think the story collapsed around page 50. Those pages remain in a box.
Someday, I thought, I will find a solution to the problem and finish the story.
Flash forward to this week. Like many folks around the world I have kept up with the story of Amanda Knox. It has been quite riveting. Did she do it or not and if she did not will she be cleared and if she did will she spend the rest of her life in prison? And now, as more information of what went on before and after the crime and during the investigation comes out, I see a picture of somebody railroaded into prison by overzealous, incompetent, or even corrupt police and prosecutors using evidence that cannot stand up to scrutiny, violating the rights of the accused, and slandering the accused as well.
And then a light bulb went off.
With a few changes here and there (to protect the innocent, of course--and so I don't have to pay anybody!) the Knox case provides the outline for the frame I need for the woman in Bullet Alley. Woo hoo!
Now the story can be told. I have no idea when, or even, really, if, I will get back to Bullet Alley, but you can bet when I do it will be a much better experience, and a better story, because of what happened to a certain young woman from Seattle. Maybe I should send her a cake.