Some may say that fiction writers are out of touch with reality. To a point, maybe it's true. It takes incredible focus to create a fictitious world, not to mention the characters that inhabit it. In our minds, we move into that world. We see it and feel it as if it's real. We get to know our characters better than we know ourselves. We know how they move, their deepest secrets, what pushes their buttons, what they're afraid of, what drives them... They become our best friends or, in the case of villains, our worst enemies.
I am no exception. I may break from the computer to run errands, but make no mistake, I'm always writing to some extent. You may see me walking down an aisle in the grocery store, but my mind is likely elsewhere. It may be lost in a murder scene trying to figure out who did it, how did they did it, why they did it... I may be tossing a can of tuna in my shopping cart while my brain is searching for the next way in which I can torture my poor protagonist. I'm physically present, but where my mind is would be anybody's guess.
Does this mean that I'm out of touch with reality?
You would probably think so, but I beg to differ. I'd even argue that more in touch with reality than many.
While every story is created for its entertainment value, each of them also has a bit of reality woven into it. It may be the basis for the story, a subplot, a character trait, or a very minor detail, but to some extent, bits and pieces of my life are always there.
Sometimes, opportunity just presents. In Throw the Key I needed a beloved toy for Jack, so I plugged in the story of my own son's childhood teddy bear. I didn't plan it and I certainly didn't build the story around it, but the fiction just blended with this real life object.
Other times, there is a specific event, subject, theory, person, etc. that I want to write about. Throw the Key developed from the idea of Eric's plane crash. Though it's a major event in the story (it was a major event in my own life as well), it certainly isn't the basis for it. Apple of My Eye was born entirely on the story's setting. The interesting thing about imagination is that you just never know where it will take you.
Perhaps the most fascinating bits of reality are those that end up in the story accidentally. It happens all the time and I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that this is the case with most authors. We grow so close to our stories that we become as much part of them as they are of us.
So am I out of touch with reality? I don't think so...but I most certainly stretch it to the limits!