Why Do I Write Thrilling Novels?
As you go about whatever you do while you read – sit, lie down, eat – I doubt you ever think about what it takes for a writer to pour out endless dreams, or horror, or love stories, whatever your taste. Did you stop to think that every one of the characters and places in a story first blossomed to life in the writer’s mind? And before all the things that jump right off the page and make you feel good or make you cry, or give you the creeps, maybe laugh so hard you pee yourself, before all that there are endless volumes of twaddle that an author wades through, gibberish of their own making.
That’s right. All those things you love had to crawl out of some primordial cesspool that some poor bastard, like myself, has disgorged like so much crap. It’s like a prospector panning for gold, only they have to sift through endless volumes of shit to find those quips you love and perhaps admire. Yeah, authors labor to come up with those pieces of brilliance that you imagine your favorite character think or say. Let’s hear it for the spur of the moment banter that resulted hard, time-consuming work.
You might ask yourself, why would anyone wade through manure to find a little rare morsel like that? I agree; it’s a sick image. There is something deranged about a deal like that.
It takes an ailing mind, or at least one somehow grounded in a different way than most to create wonderful stories for you. Not just fiction stories either, this includes non-fiction as well.
As I noted above, all writers live in a world filled with a slurry of a disgusting nature. It’s one in which most people wouldn’t think of living. With luck and a lot of effort, they are able to control that fluidity or at least become used to it. But all those things they endure are out of the ordinary and tend to make them all psychologically, uh, impaired in one way or another.
That’s right. We writers are these somewhat disabled people who live around you, afflicted with a condition that drives us to … create something. We can live anywhere, even next door to you. Holy shiznit, you may even have attended high school with a few of us. Who knows? Anyway, people like me aren’t able to function in a normal way. We live in a fractured world, half in a place where everyone else exists and a half in our fantasy world that enables us to spin your escapist afternoon when you curl up, relax with a good book, and a glass of Chardonnay.
We create our little darlings and then send them off for the approval of an agent or publisher. Then the first thing that happens is, our wonderful project receives a rejection. A writer’s universe is so full of torturous rejections from that approval process, we who live in it are doomed to walk around with horrendously thick skin. It eventually changes us into creatures from whom others expect the only perfection.
This is not a lament. All writers experience this, including J K Rowling and Stephen King. Indeed, we who labor over the correct word for our fantasies, do it so others can enjoy, and we take the hazard of rejection as part of the life. It is the way we learn our craft, and incidentally, how we live with all the sludge mentioned before. It’s the way the industry weeds out the people that can’t do from those that can. They call it paying dues.
I know from personal experience this process can be tedious and painful and is one reason that I am bald. (The other is my crazy family.) It took almost two decades for me to stalk my way through the rejection labyrinth. I was so impatient I didn’t want to waste the five or six years to learn how to write. Instead, I lavishly spent nineteen to twenty years flopping around to learn. Do you see how much muck and mire I had to slip and slide my way through? Hell of a quagmire I made for myself, eh?
In addition to all the bullshit labyrinth, each writer has personal problems to deal with. My own have to do with my children and their catastrophes deeds that happen while I write. I love the rug rodents, but there are times they frustrate the living piss out of me. For example, it has taken me eight days to jot this down. Can you imagine what happens when I write a 400-page novel?
Like every house with children, there are always emergencies at my house. I mean real disasters, like uh, “All the potato chips are gone! Someone ate my piece of cake! She is wearing the shirt I was going to wear!” Any of these things sound familiar to you?
Don’t forget the day to day things that take time, like the need to change a diaper, going to the store, or helping with homework. You know life never stops, not at my house anyway, so if I’m to write then I need to craft something I like, something that keeps my interest.
My life is so full of all those daily un-thrilling things, I need to spin a suspenseful yarn to keep me focused. Conflicts keep me zeroed in. Catch your breath cliffhangers do the same.
You’re sitting there thinking about all sorts of things, wondering about what this blog might be about. There is a myriad of things that have potential. But you know what? You have to wait a little longer to find out.
You see there? That minuscule stall created some tension, a little conflict, and the byproduct of it is your willingness to sit a bit longer. What do you know? I was right, wasn’t I?
That little phenomenon is connected with what happens to the human mind when it encounters conflict.
Tension and conflict beg readers to keep reading. Both are mainstays, the first and second clubs with which a writer has to play. Conflicts have to infuse the written project in one fashion or another while tension needs a rationing approach because it affects pacing.
I had a professor once that demanded I know everything about an author before I could understand what they wrote. What he asked was impossible to fulfill. And all of that is undying horse shit anyway.
Here is what counts. Everything I write has my personality woven through it. If you read my writings, you will get to know me.
Read what I write and you will know me. But here is the humongous bottom: I love thrillers. That’s why I write them.