Thursday, November 3, 2011

Never Trust a Writer

I just attended a local writer’s group meeting last night, so I’m filled up with ideas and motivation. Of course, I’ll run out of that by tomorrow evening.

For those of you who write, you know how hard it really is. After all, it takes a certain amount of talent to create a lie, then convince others it is the truth, at least until the end of the story.

Writers often draw upon what they see, feel, smell, or experience in the real world in order to make the world in their mind more believable.

I write about Werewolves, Demons, Elves, and Faeries under a pen name, but I want all of my stories to be as believable I possible. My beloved character, Kat McKendry (my mystery crime series yet to be written) just lost her job as a model. In the real world, she wouldn't be caught dead out in the wilderness, picking a lock and breaking into a cabin in the middle of the night. It is my job as a writer to give her the tools to accomplish the task, no matter how far-fetched it seems at first. My shape shifting Werewolves can be made believable if I give them real jobs, real personalities, and real desires.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen someone in a mall, or known someone that spawned an entirely new character. I mean, even now, as I sit here plugging this article out during my lunch hour, a co-worker sits within earshot, slurping soda out of a can and sucking food particles off his teeth. Will I eventually become annoyed and say something? Of course not. Instead, I will sit quietly, listening to every disgusting noise he creates, with various parts of his body. I will watch his gestures and facial expressions. I will patiently wait in wonder, and catalog every disgusting thing he does.

See there? He just repositioned himself ever so slightly in his seat and let out a fart. It wasn’t the kind of expulsion one might hear as ships pass, dangerously close to the shore on some foggy night. No this was meant to be concealed. It was a squeaker, and I’m sure he thought no one else heard it.

Will this end up in one of my stories sometime? Probably, but not in its whole. My mind will mix these things up, along with everything else I've experienced over the last few weeks, like a blender on frappe, and the actions will suddenly pop into some new character’s profile as one of their quirks.

So, you see. You simply cannot trust a writer, for everything that you do—good, bad, endearing, or disgusting—will probably end up in a story somewhere. And, the writer will not attempt to explain why a character does such things, for it is not the writer’s position to explain why. No, the writer leaves only enough clues for the reader to come to their own conclusions.

This is best explained in a wonderful quote I found:

“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it”—Hannah Arendt.