Monday, September 14, 2015

You may be a fiction writer if:

You may be a fiction writer if:

  1. You like to daydream. You can sit happily staring out a window, watching the world go by and letting your thoughts wander, kicking up whatever strange ideas they may stumble across. People who bust in on your thoughts (‘I could see you weren’t busy’) are being offensive.

  2. You conduct conversations in your head with imaginary people – or imagined versions of your family, friends, acquaintances and celebrities. You may have much deeper relationships with the imagined version of a crush, or boss, or your mother than you’ve ever had with the original.

  3. You find yourself analyzing emotional incidents for a deeper understanding of the motivations and issues at play. There may be diagrams involved – or poetry.

  4. Someone infuriates you – and your response is to imagine them as the victim in a murder mystery or thriller, horror or suspense plot. Don’t doubt that many a real-life a-hole has died a myriad fictional deaths.

  5. You tend to search for The Perfect Words to describe places, people, weather, moods… In describing this neighborhood, do I focus on the languid boulevard trees in their summer greenery beneath a sultry silver sky, or the clusters of single family homes built early in the last century, or the business complex opposite, or the frequency of traffic on the major cross street? How would I describe the character of the place? A contradiction between sleepy nature and industrious civilization? A tense borderland between big business interests and the quiet lives of ordinary folk? Just write it off as a ‘quiet neighborhood’ when there’s so much life and activity under the surface?

  6. You’ll go over a sentence or paragraph again and again to be sure it’s understandable and says exactly what you want it to say. You’ll solicit the opinions of others: family, friends, critique partners and/or editors and argue with genuine passion about semi-colons and dashes.

  7. Your favorite form of entertainment is a good story. It doesn’t even have to be a book. It could be a movie, play, tv show, puppet show, comic book – or a friend’s recounting of an incident at work. What is a tweet or a Facebook post, but a mini-story contributing to a larger pastiche story portraying your whole social milieu? (You are proud of yourself for knowing words like ‘pastiche’ and milieu’ and using them correctly together in a single sentence.)

  8.  You’re inclined to imagine what it would be like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. What is life like for that friendly bus driver? for the mother herding two kids and a toddler through the grocery store? For the guy making sure to park his Jag on the top level of the ramp, well away from all the other cars? For those escaped convicts on the news? For the families of the victims in that shooting? They are all living roles that might fit into a story somewhere along the line…

  9.  Miscellaneous incidents, objects, people, factoids etc. start your imagination off on a chain of what-ifs that you could turn into a story. The witches in fairy tales sure get abum rap…  A poster on a telephone pole warns of break-ins in the neighborhood. What if I came home only to catch the criminal in the act… . This is no fun at all, what if you could hire someone to switch consciousnesses with you while you did your stint with the dentist?...

  10.  You’re willing to spend countless hours working harder on a manuscript that may never earn you a dime than you work on your actual paying job. And you’ll keep on this way for years because, while recognition is nice, the story is the thing. 
Feel free to add your own items to the list, in the comments below!


Catherine1216 said...

You imagine a scene in the current novel you are writing so vividly that you swear you wrote it already, only to return to your writing and find it not there, but safely tucked in your mind, still.