The biggest and most significant discovery was that I am in fact a character-driven writer. I know that will come as no great surprise to many of you who have read my work, or who have been following along with my writing process over the past four or five years, but it came as a huge revelation to me because I've never set out to be any kind of writer. I just had all these people in my head that I wanted to bring to life. But then, I'm character-driven in my life, overall. I love people, I love meeting people and I especially love unique, eccentric people.
I'm also a character-driven reader. You can keep your left brain action stories that follow a linear route to the quest's conclusion, I'm much happier reading books that are intuitive and spontaneous. Like real life. My real life, anyway. I like to watch a character sort out their issues on the page rather than move from scenario to scenario. I enjoy watching their personal evolution rather than their emergence, like the children of Zeus, fully formed from the author's head. I tend to like the messiness of life both in books and in the real world.
The one thing that spoils meeting certain kinds of people is their obligatory question, "What do you do?" That has always irked the crap out of me. I live. I learn. I fall down and I get back up again. Why not ask, instead, "What makes you tick? What turns you on? Who are you?" Even when I worked in the corporate world and had a job to brag about, I hated that question, "What do you do?"
Over the weekend I finally sorted out my recent writing dilemma and confusion. When I finished the second book of my trilogy, I found myself at a dead end. I was blocked. That has changed and I'm busy scribbling away—my author's eye has reopened and I'm finding fodder all around me. Here's where I am:
- Every book I want to write is going into a cryogenic vault for one year. This includes A Polite Little Madness (my memoirs), Harley & Colette, and Enharmonic Intervals.
- I have moved the manuscripts of my trilogy into a single concept titled, simply, Beyond The Bridge: A Rock & Roll Series.
- I am rewriting everything, making each book longer, the story deeper, and the characters more complex. It has occurred to me that what I've written and published is only about half the length it should be and half as deep. These are some fascinating characters and they deserve better. Simply put, I'm not done with them yet and they apparently aren't done with me.
- I am no longer listening to the current, popular rules of writing. I am writing as I like to write. I will employ adjectives and adverbs. I will use our rich language and shut out the voices who tell me, "You shouldn't...". I'm writing for me now, not the sheeple who spend their time and energy telling their blog readers what to do and not do. Screw them. I'm weary of self-proclaimed pundits and thought police both in the wide world of politics and religion, and in writing. As the saying goes, "Here's a quarter. Call someone who cares."
I've spent my entire life trying to get past the sentries that keep me outside of my creative self. I could see in, but something always held me back from integrating with that creative self. I wrote a lot of music and a lot of stories, but I never felt that I went in very deep. I never "opened a vein" so to speak. Something always held me back. Most of the time it was the rules. Of course, I'm not referring to the basic elements of style and grammar, I'm referring to rules people make up for whatever reasons—mostly publishers whose concern is focused more on the cost of ink and paper than it is on art.
Sod them. Not listening anymore. I'm writing for me.