Life is a grand and wonderous thing. A condition that is easy to forget when we become mired in the little things like temporary obstacles or immediate gratification. A writer’s job isn’t just to create a fantasy place of escape for the reader. It’s an opportunity to display life’s grand wonder from a perspective that lends insight and understanding into those bigger themes that lie just below the surface of life.
The genre is of little importance. I never tell a horror story or share a zombie outbreak. Those things are just a canvas for the real things I want to contemplate—like love, loss, justice, responsibility, guilt, loyalty, the divine and the human spirit. My written words are just an examination of the contemplations of my own world and the lives of those who share the short journey of life on this little rock in the middle of the vast unknown.
And as the character Sam points out in the The Devil’s Hour, words are a permanent reflection of the writer. A writer may be none of the things he writes about, but at some level he is all of those things. The words always reveal the author if they are true and often reveal even more when they are false.
The novel, the process, the words, the story and all the rest are marked with the writer’s DNA. People often ask, “where do you find these crazy ideas?” “Within me and all around me,” would be the answer if I choose to give one instead of just providing an impish smile and a shrug. Horror writers aren’t often pushed on the subject. I think it’s the reader’s fear that the response might be, “This idea? Oh it’s something I saw under your bed. In fact it’s waiting there for you right now.” Because isn’t the truth that we all have a monster under our bed and many ghosts in our closets who go by names like: regret, guilt, fear, worry, hope,and judgment.
The writer’s DNA is in every story. And if the work is any good, it contains plenty of the reader’s DNA too. With age and experience the work improves because the best writers can add more and more reality to the fantasy until the story fiction is separated only by a thin wall of fog from non-fiction. Enough mist to cloud the whole truth, but with a transparency that allows full discovery upon closer examination.
So that is the journey of my April A to Z blog challenge. To demonstrate the life that goes into fiction. To show how the person behind the words influences and is influenced by the reality that drives the fantasy. From the daily Action of his life to the influences of the Zeitgeist. In the span of 26 letters over 30 days, it is this writer’s whirlwind tour of the writing experience and all the triumphs and pitfalls that raise and sink the undeniable passion to say something by talking about something else.
It is the path of the funny, the frustrating, the sad, the scary, the true and the ultimate joy of being, in the words of author S.K. Anthony, an official Make-Stuff-Up-er. It’s not about advice on how to be a better writer, it’s about finding those internal things that can hoist us to the heights of Grand Story Teller. Because regardless of fame, fortune, reviews, or book sales, if you put pen to paper or help those who do so, isn’t that the real desire? To be the best you that you always knew you could be. To realize, as Victorian novelist George Eliot said: It’s never too late to be what you might have been.
Categories: A to Z Blog Challenge