Reading over my last several posts, I have come to the conclusion that I may be in mortal danger of Taking Myself Much Too Seriously.
I cannot afford for this to happen, since I would then start writing Literary novels, the thought of which brings on a desperate need for a good dose of Pepto-Bismol.
So today I want to write about some things I really like about Writing. I realize that in doing so I may be revealing more information about myself than I really want to, or indeed more than you, gentle reader, may really want to know, but there we are.
I'm not going to write about great Themes, or having Something To Say, or the Need to Be Relevant (all of which would make great names for rock bands, an idea I stole from Dave Barry). I won't even write about the fact that Fantasy is not an escape from Reality, but a back door to it.
I like - strike that, I love those times when the scene in my head writes itself on my pc screen without conscious intervention on my part, when the screen itself disappears, so that all I see is the scene I'm writing. At such times I almost feel like a conduit, rather than a translator, and the words overflow the banks, burst through the dam, and its all I can do to manage to direct the flow, and I stop only when the stream runs dry. I call this 'being in the Zone', and I have tried, to no avail, to recreate at will those conditions which precipitate the Zone, and other writers that I've talked to confess something similar. This has all the earmarks of addictive behavior, I know. Ask me if I care.
I especially like creating characters that readers fall in love with. Characters that readers discuss with you as if they were real people. I also like, perverse imp that I am, to propose writing death, dismemberment, or humiliating scenes for these characters, just to see the reaction. Some of these suggestions have actually found their way into a WIP, and some may still do so.
I love watching people read my work: will they gasp at just the right moment, or laugh, or cry; will their eyes go all round like blackboard zeros; will I have to call their name twice before they hear me; will they shudder at that scene? If you're not going to write so as to elicit an emotional response, why write at all?
I love to write cliffhanging ends to chapters. Or books. Well, I might as well be honest, I love to write chapter endings that dangle readers over The Black Abyss of Doom. My beta readers usually only get to read a chapter at a time, and their reactions to NOT being able to turn the page and go on have sometimes been priceless. AW told me once, after trying (vainly) to scroll down after a chapter ending: "You did NOT end it THERE! You SO SUCK!" Which of course I took as a compliment of the highest order, and thanked her profusely.
I love being told my novel should be made into a movie. If only the readers that told me this had the ear of Peter Jackson....*sighs*. Current suggestions for actors among my readers: Johnny Depp as Jonas (... most of my betas are female...), Kate Beckinsale as Diane, Daniel Craig as Alex, Drew Barrymore as Liz, and Anthony Hopkins as The Elder. Such a movie would, of course, never be made: too many stars. But it's a great Dream...
And I love drowning my readers in the Dream that is the Story, when they tell me they can see the scene, smell the Nightmares, hear the waves lapping zhoop-zhoop on the powdered sand. I love finding that one vivid concrete detail that puts the reader there, so that they are in the Story, not just reading words on a page.
In reading this, I find I may have escaped being Too Serious only to become Too Full of Myself.
What can I say?
I am a writer.