January 14, 2009

Crime and Punishment, Fiction and Real Life

Money talks, huh? Especially when it's other people's.

Every time I see that crook Madoff on TV - he who swindled millions - like old people and charities - and tried to mail $millions in jewelry to family and friends - it gives me an idea of why such seemingly awful punishments once flourished.

The first thing that comes to mind as I see his smirking face, trying to duck TV crews, is tarring and feathering.

I used to think, how barbaric. It is an awful punishment, but now I understand. How do you punish one of the worst thieves in society who sneers at everyone else from his penthouse jail? (Justice? An ankle monitor? What was wrong with that judge?)

With the wide range of hurt and financial devastation this man caused by his own greed and lust, you can see the anger simmering. No, I didn't have anything invested and yes, vigilantism is wrong. Hopefully the courts do better at sentencing than this judge who thought a penthouse a fitting jail cell before the trial.

Does this relate to writing? Yes. Most fiction stems from real life. Seeing a real life incident play out, you can easily imagine the feelings that go with such an act. You can see how one crime can initiate others. You can feel empathy with the victims. You can put a fictional face on the suffering. It can inspire a host of other stories and plots.

** What do you think? What real life crimes or incidents have inspired your writing?


  1. Yes, somewhere there is a story begging to be written!
    Real life is always stranger than fiction...

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. Ah!! Madoff! That situation irritates me so much.

  3. I think the judge made a mistake with Madoff, too. That crook belongs behind bars. It's outrageous that he is not in a prison cell.

  4. Actually, real-life crimes did inspire my writing at one point. It was during my "darker" days as a hormone-driven, indignant teenager in my English class. We had to write a story for a creative writing unit, and, well, let's say my story was a little sci-fi, a little true crime (think of Megan's Law), and kind of violent. My teacher, aiming to embarrass me, had me read in front of the class. My peers liked my writing style but were scared of me a bit afterwards.

    Nowadays you see stories like mine made into TV shows and movies all the time.

  5. You always find the most beautiful miniatures to share on your blog. You've done it again!

    Morgan Mandel


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