I don’t write like most writers. I don’t set hours aside each day, although I try, or at least try to think about writing every day. But when I have a private moment I write in my head. When I go to sleep I imagine space operas, treasure hunts, and beach rendezvouses with the sun setting across the Aegean Sea, melting into the midnight blue water, a sea nymph escaping the heat of the day for the cool of her ocean home.
Yes, I really do think like this. When I drop Paul off I do this too. Shorter time, shorter story, but always always writing in my head, playing with words. Maybe it’s escapist, maybe not. Maybe it’s just how my brain works…and I know my brain is often happier thinking about other things than the road or the rent or the groceries.
The other thing I do is think about characters and their characterization. I generally write character driven stories and even the novel I’m working on, while a kids’ fantasy, still focuses on the kids and their life at home. For me, this lends authority to why exactly any child could survive an alien landscape as well as explaining why they would even want to become heroes, even in another land.
Most times, my stories are an attempt to portray reality, and often they can be painful to write, and I imagine to read. That’s because I think. A lot. I think about who this person is, why they are the way they are, what they are capable of, what kind of coffee they drink, who they love if they are capable of love at all, what their favorite color is…you get the idea.
I am also pretty infatuated and fascinated by evil. What makes someone evil? What makes them hold a gun or a knife or a bottle of poison with the idea of murdering a boyfriend? What makes them molest a child or rape a woman. That gets pretty damn dark because I have a very very vivid imagination. Very. And I struggle with that until I get it out of me, either on paper, or just abandoning it. I’m not very good at abandonment.
Vincent prefers to be called Vincent, disliking the more familiar Vince. His father called him that, and he simply can’t abide the dizziness that swells his head at the thought of his father.
Here I am already setting up the character. He’s neurotic, and his father leaves him with unpleasant feelings. This is a form of delayed decoding, hopefully the reader, if Vincent makes it to paper, will be interested in wtf is wrong with this guy.
He (Vincent) eats lunch in the same place every single day. The grass in the park, the wintery sky, the leaves on the trees, they all change with the seasons, but never Vincent. He sits at the same bench, the one painted a forest green to blend in with its surroundings, the one in which Carlito declares his love for Maria eternally, the one that is slightly off-kilter and tilts to one side when he sits down, every single working day of his life. He takes no time off for vacation. Never calls in sick. Never is late after lunch or in the morning.
I like to use repetition. It can help a simple situation seem more sinister, or more urgent.
But not today. Today the bench is occupied by a blonde woman. Well, more like a blonde girl. Her lunch is spread out upon the bench covering the faint tracings of Maria’s name, and she is rocking the bench…rocking!..it in time to whatever is playing on her Ipod, while she stuffs greasy potato chips into garishly painted red lips.
Now we’re starting to get a feel for Vincent. He’s judgmental, easily irritated, and is more concerned about his personal space than making a love connection. This leads to more questions, which is what I want. Is he gay? Is he married? Is he just a prude?
His head begins to spin, just as it does when people call him Vince. He feels his breath leave his lungs and he is unsure if he will be able to gather it back again. The girl’s blonde hair glistens in the sunlight, golden strands emulating the simple, delicate crucifix dangling over her loosely buttoned red shirt. Vincent attempts to slow his breathing so that he can think, but he only causes himself pain as he pulls in shaky breath after shaky breath.
And then he sees that delicate chain surrounding an equally delicate neck, sees its thickness growing from tiny links holding the body of Christ between the soft swells of the girl’s breasts to a thick, bristly rope, sees it pull the invader on the bench toward the tree shading his bench, invisibly gathering her into its branches as her eyes bulge in her face, her neck swells and her face turns blue over the rope and she hangs there, her legs shaking, her hands clawing, and her breath, much as his had, fails to give comfort, and finally fails to give life at all.
Ah, so is Vincent imagining her death?
Who is this guy, to be so upset over a bench, one that does not even have his name on it?
I’ll have to think on this for a while….just wrote this this evening, for this exercise. So, I’ll think for a bit, and I’ll decide what he wants to do with this interloper, how much of these short paragraphs I’ll keep, if any, and how he fits into any work I’m doing.
But tonight? Tonight, Greece and the gyros are looking kind of awesome.
Please leave any comments you’d like…I like comments. 🙂