For those of you who have followed my blog and may have expected more by way of production, I apologize. Perhaps I should have called this an occasional blog, because that’s what it seems to have turned out to be. I didn’t intend it to be that way of course. I intended that I’d move very quickly through the formatting process for my eBook and straight into publication. Well, it hasn’t worked out quite like that. In fact, my novel has sat untouched since my last post. I don’t think there’s much more to do besides to build a table of contents and send it through the “meatgrinder”. That’s what Smashwords calls their software. Cute, egh?
I could go into some lengthy explanation about spending a long weekend visiting my granddaughter, but that would just be back story to the real issue. So instead I’ll use the back story reference as segue from my lack of prolificacy to the subject of, well, the subject you want to write about. As a writer of speculative fiction I like to observe people and then try to form a construct about their lives that includes all the visual, auditory, and sometimes even olfactory clues. It may be interesting to talk to them, but I find it more valuable to see them as a ‘type’, if you will. For instance, when I see the dumpy Goth chick in her black lacy leggings, piercings, black lipstick, and fingernail polish, I want to know why she dresses that way, what makes her who she is, what demons are invested in her. But the problem is that the answers can’t come from her, they have to come from me.
In my construct she is much darker, perhaps an edgy sociopath whose vacuous life is given meaning only in the cruelty of her world of drugs and violence. Her grip on reality is tenuous at best and only held fast by the connivances of her erstwhile lover, an arcane musician named Erantz who entrances his victims like some post-modern pied piper luring the weak and lonely to their empty fates.
In reality, her real name is Charlene and she is a co-ed at Amherst and comes she’s from an upper middle class family, but she gets her kicks by pretending to be bad. Bad, but not dangerous. Maybe there’s another story there, but I just don’t care. I’d rather save teen angst for the Lifetime Channel (arrgh!).
In fiction, as much as you might deny it, in the end everything that is written is about you, even the dirty and violent things. You might not think so, you might never admit it, but the only thing that separates you from your characters is actually acting out what you’ve written. All the thoughts, all the impulses, are yours. Your character just gives them life. Those thoughts and impulses are always there and each of us deals with those thoughts in his, or her, own way. Some of us rant. Some of us drink. Some of us pray. Others realize what their writings reveal and, when the words run dry, choose some form of the Hemingway Solution.
If you’re having trouble getting your thoughts together don’t look around for the inspiration, look inside. The answer is already there. The next step is to apply that answer ― the thoughts and impulses that terrify you ― to something you observe, like the way the man, the one with the gaunt, drawn face, his weathered fedora pulled low, watches you in the barroom mirror, never looking at you directly, then slips his hand with intentionality beneath the lapel of his trench coat. You take it from there. What happens next?
If you have any comments about this or any of my posts, please feel free to click the comment link and let me know what’s on your mind.
© Copyright 2011 by Kevin Fraleigh.