This is a catalpa tree. It's real. I've been walking by it every morning as I trudge the mile or so from the Lied Center, which houses my MFA residency, into the center of the small town of Nebraska City. There's a coffee house there that makes a delicious latte and that's how I start my day before I sink into the world of fiction writing. The tree is an enthralling sight as the sun lights up its dangling green bean-like pods. Someday, I'll probably have a catalpa tree in a short story or a novel. I like the way the word, "catalpa" sounds and the way the pods make the tree look like it's all fancied-up, wearing earrings. Maybe there'll be a wild party under a catalpa tree or maybe a murder. Maybe I'll invent a girl named Catalpa. Fact into fiction.
My current novel has a husband in it--an L.A. attorney who makes tons of money in a high-profile firm that does entertainment law. The law firm isn't actually that good though. All the partners make most of their money because they're involved in the porn industry, and the husband (in the novel) gets more and more corrupted as time goes by and doesn't even come to the hospital to take the wife home after she has a miscarriage. He's judgmental, aloof, thinks he's always on the moral high ground. He's an impeccable dresser, and so fastidious he wipes the rim of his wine glass after every sip.
See how it works? Fact into fiction.