I am an avid reader of human interest stories. People interest me. If you and I were sitting across from each other, with cups of coffee or tea, I'd be interested in your life, your experiences. From where that comes, I cannot say other than it's been a part of my life since childhood. I remember sitting where I could listen to the adults talk-- that is until they would see me.
So newspaper articles like this fit into my curiosity about human nature, how we figure out what works for us, as well as what we choose to do that fouls up our whole life-- when we head down a detrimental path. The lady who got into trouble with this said--
No, it was not. It was way beyond pranks. It seems crazy, but when a person who is not crazy does such things-- how did they get there?
Making such behavior seem believable in a book can be dicey. We might shake our head at a newspaper story; but in fiction, we want it to make sense. Not everything humans do makes sense or even fits a pattern. When a man shoots his neighbor because he cut down a tree or over a parking space or because the neighbor is the wrong religion, it seems insane, and yet it's part of human nature-- the dark part.
For writers looking for ideas for plots, I suggest reading human interest stories. They are out there, and one of them may lead to the next step in the situation you've been thinking would work for a book.
Take that woman in the link, who was being very malicious-- while she calls it pranks. How far was she from physically harming the couple? Stay on a path and each step takes you to the next one-- or because we are human, we can change our path. It's always a choice although I wonder if at a certain point, the choices are gone.
For me, it's not hard to see how someone who was once seemingly normal can turn into someone who is a full fledged sociopath or worse a psychopath. Are we born into that or do we turn into it?
Answering that question is what makes for great plots.
In my book, Tucson Moon, I used the step-by-step down a path in showing how someone becomes a villain. The guy had been weak, self-centered, and manipulative in the book before it, Arizona Sunset. He was slowly moving, with each choice, into a position where he would not just orchestrate or manipulate others into something bad but was willing to go all the way himself. Little by little, as he made choices, he became someone who would harm others without a second thought.
Life works that way-- either way. Step by step someone becomes a hero or a villain and it's all about the choices along the way.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~I wrote a piece for Smart Girls Read Romance and it's up today--