Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bacterial Growth

The main push behind this blog is to force me to stop and think about the process of writing.

For so many years, I basically wrote whatever moved me … a vast majority of that was my own personal memories. Some might call it therapy, being able to relive and rewrite what has happened in the past. I suppose. Except that I never seem to mode my representative to benefit the real me at all. Well, at least not the way one would assume writers do all the time – the old cliché of “Don’t get mad. Get even by writing a famous novel that skewers that fucker!” Nah. I just can’t do that. My representative in the story never ends up the hero (or victim) for that matter. In my short fiction – those that are semi-autobiographical in nature – the representation of “me” always seems to come across as helpless, a mere walk-on in the drama of his life.

Wow, that sentence along could cost me years of therapy.

However, to change the subject before serious meds are prescribed, my novel The Empty Everything is a departure from that past tendency. This is deliberate decision. My other 2 novels are very personal, but in different ways. That closeness makes the act of writing much harder. It’s all so “poignant.” Oooooh, how I hate that word.

This time I’m forcing myself to write about something that’s not me me me (always a good idea, but then I say that in a blog all about me). To analyze this even further, I’ve also decided to slow down and observe just how the process evolves and comes together – hence this blog.

So far having not written a single sentence yet, but diving into the research and foundation building, I’ve realized that all of my fiction begins with one specific question. This question is always so simple and basic:

1.      What must it be like to live in a country where there are no police?

2.      What if your father was the perpetrator of a horrible vicious crime when you were a child, but never knew?

3.      What would you do if the person you loved committed suicide with no warning?

4.      How can a single person be viewed so many different ways by the people around him?

All of those are actual questions which started out as a mere germ and then expanded in full-fledged (in-progress) novels. It’s so strange to let the mind wander and explore from such a insignificant starting point.

I read many many years ago something that has stuck in my head. A critic was reviewing a Shakespearean play, can’t remember which one, and wrote (more or less): The beauty of Shakespeare is that every single character is convinced of their own righteousness. Each one speaks such Truth.

That’s what I strive to do. I want each of my characters to believe in their words and actions. By beginning the process with a question, I put myself in their shoes and plan and scheme and plot and set a course of action that I hope is a true representation of the situation. From this concept, a novel forms.

Now, whether that’s good or bad, no one really knows, do they? Not published is the same as not writing.

1 comment:

  1. The thought of "Not published is the same as not writing" is depressing.