I read an article recently that told writers that they had to create a personal manifesto. They were to list all of the things that appeared in their writing and then think about them. Dissect them, analyse them, wonder why they were such constants, consider what they brought to the writing, and ponder their writing without those aspects included.
I thought it was a pretty nifty idea, and I’m all for introspection and self-analysis, so I figured I’d give it a go.
Smiles – they always come into my work. I find that the mouth, and a smile in particular can tell so much about a person. How they smile, why they smile, when they smile. I find that I like a character to smile when they are really happy, but they’ll just as often spread the lips across the face to show menace and just how mean and nasty they are. I know when I look at someone I look at their smile, so it makes sense I’d write about it too.
The moon – I love knowing what the moon is doing. I find it sets a scene, compliments a scene, and can even end a scene. Luna is the perfect addition to any night time activities, even if the clouds are completely covering her lush and white visage. I know in real life I always check out the moon, waxing, waning, new and full, it’s a bloody good muse.
Teachers – many of my characters are teachers. No surprise, so am I. I am a firm believer that authors write what they know, to a degree. Stephen King writes teachers/authors, John Grisham writes lawyers, Philip K Dick writes delusional druggoes, Clive Barker writes characters of the alternative description. It’s an easy way into the character’s head. So I write teachers, or people who are generally immature, heh heh.
Madonna/Whore sterotypes – my mother informed me of this trait in my writing. I either write one or the other (the Madonna in question being the biblical virgin, not the sinewy-armed aging battler who clings to sexuality like a barnacle to an octopus’ ass). The girls in my story are either pure or complete sluts. I’m not convinced, but I can slightly see the point. But hey, you write what you know, right, and I know what I know.
Sarcasm – sure, not everyone in the world has a good wit, but everyone I want to write about does. I like having a chuckle when I read, so I want it when I write too.
Mental problems/suicide – this seems to crop up a bit, sometimes matched, sometimes one aspect on its own. I think it makes good drama. Others seem to think it’s too close to home for me and possibly out of taste. To them I say, see the last point, whatever makes me chuckle. I just think that a character, or entire mental facility army of them is a good cross section where I can make with the loony. And making with the loony is a great way to stretch the wings and let whatever fall out of your head like it’s some crazy lady who lives in a shoe’s uterus.
There are just the main ones I’ve spotlighted so far. I’m sure there might be a few more, but these are the big ones.
I think a lot of my work incorporates all of this, but with other stuff added. There’s always all sorts of random other things happening through my story. I like to surprise myself, and then hopefully the reader.
I do not think I could get through a story without touching on one, some, or all of these things. I see them in my head, I want to know where they are, what they are doing, how they are affecting the story, or being affected by it.
But, I must say, looking at the collection of things that occur I must concede, I am a little bloody weird. In a good way, I hope.
Posted on August 27th, 2009 by ryan
Filed under: Writing