One of the worst things as a writer, is to bore yourself. That might be true of any one, writer or not. Maybe what I mean is to stop feeling challenged. For over seven years I’ve dabbled in one genre, romantic comedies with the occasional dip into urban fantasy. I still have stories I’d like to tell, but don’t feel the excitement I once had when opening myself to these worlds I’ve created. Perhaps part of the problem is I know what happens. I’ve seen the story unfold and the ultimate end for my Vampire series. You can’t have fun if you know the ending. Of course for you guys waiting for the ending, my reluctance to get on with it might be off-putting. The thing is, if you don’t feel it, you can’t write it.
Shouldn’t write it might be closer to the truth. Any creative medium is all about passion. If you don’t feel passionate about the project, don’t force it to unfold. You can tell it, and a reader can certainly see it. I would much rather let a story hang than tell a story that is flat and just plain boring.
In an effort to avoid just that happening, I decided to open a blank doc and see what new worlds I had floating around in my head. My imagination being what it is, I figured I should have something in there to offer me a challenge. It’s not like I’ve ever limited my reading to just one genre. No, I have always read things based on what sparks my imagination. My first love had been the Hardy Boys books. I loved solving the mysteries along with them. Sometimes I even managed to beat them to the punch. Before long, I had no trouble solving the mystery before they got half way through the book. As I grew up, or grew geeky, I moved on to Fantasy and Science Fiction. No. I’m not forgetting comic books. They’ve been a steady constant in my life I don’t see disappearing from the radar anytime soon. As I entered my teens I moved on to horror and espionage novels. Stephen King, Anne Rice and Tom Clancy replaced Tolkien and a host of authors too many to name. Romance novels didn’t enter the literary picture of my reading until I was sixteen.
The point is, I have multitude of genres to pick from to start this new phase of my author existence. Never one to limit myself, I set about to combine a couple of loves into this new effort. Really, I have a few ideas rolling around in my head wanting to be let out. I had to just see which one was talking the loudest. More importantly, which one felt closest to me.
See, that’s the thing. Writing is personal. It hits too close to home like nothing else ever will. You are purging yourself out into the universe. You are letting total strangers get a glimpse inside who you truly are. That is the secondary effect of writing. First and foremost, through the process of writing you discover, as an author, who you are. Well, who you are for this one brief flickering moment in time. We are constantly changing, evolving toward the person we are ultimately meant to be. Authors tell this story of personal evolution indirectly through our books. The person I am today is not the person I was when I began this quest called writing. I have grown. I have gained wisdom through the act of living. I’ve experienced doubt, pain, revelation and so much more. I am new everyday through the process of moving forward with my life. Here’s a secret I’ve learned. You never grow up. You might mature, but your inner outlook is the same as that insecure kid who first looked out from behind their mother to see how big the world truly is. Maturing only allows us to see the many aspects of the world we live in by the context it takes to understand our place in it.
To stay sane, we need to be that child again. We need to discover wonder in the mundane. We need to witness the miracle of life itself, when all we want to do is moan over the fate our choices have led us to. Writing frees that maturity from the swamp of who we are. Sure, we’re talking about cloaking it in fiction, but it’s there nonetheless. Whether anyone else sees who we are is immaterial. The importance lies in us recognizing ourselves in the poppycock we write.
So, where is my maturity taking me? The story speaking the most in my ear is a horror novel. Why horror? Because maturing is not about running from our fears. It’s about facing them and learning from them. What do we fear most? Failure? Death? Isolation? The meaninglessness of existence? Each one of us has our own fear to face, but those are the most common. Or, rightly, the ones I find plaguing myself on a bipolar daily basis.
Horror gives an outlet to address those fears and give them a face. Once you completely understand something more times than not, fear loses its hold on you. My choice is not an easy road, for that very reason. Facing your own personal demons is all about peeling back the layers of who you are. You find things you don’t like about yourself doing things like that. I’m not big on surprises. Still, to move forward in my talent, I can see no other recourse.
The best stories I’ve read aren’t big budget Sci-Fi extravaganzas with great mental imagery, though that doesn’t hurt. No, they’ve been about normal people thrust into situations that define them. I hope in the process of attempting to step outside my box, I get a chance maybe to redefine who I am not only as an author but as a person. Who knows? I just might surprise myself, and discover I’m actually up to the challenge.