Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Nature of a Writer

As I read Brant's latest post, I couldn't help but think about my own writing. Brant's story has so many layers, it is like a big, tasty parfait. Knowing Brant as well as I do, I think that is a comment on him as well. He is a very complex but interesting person, and it shows clearly in his writing. The nature of the writer lends itself to the color of a story, no matter how hard that writer may try to keep it out. Think of the great satirical stories, like Gulliver's Travels. I highly doubt that could have been written by someone who loved the British. Or even V, which is a thinly veiled (at least to some people) look at Nationalist Socialism and how easily people are brainwashed by it.

I never thought my stories had that much subtext, but I did notice something about my own writing. Almost instictively, I like to attach some sort of moral to my stories. My first work in progress, Battle for Ondar, is a story about familial relationships, and how easily a country can collapse if its politicians don't keep it together. My current work-in-progress, Moonlit, shows how people with an infectious, incurable disease are still people, and what happens when society forgets that. I think these two examples say a lot about me as a writer and a person.

In reality, I like to think of myself as an environmentalist. I love nature, especially water-related nature, and keeping wild things wild. I also have - as my Dad calls it - a bleeding heart. I don't do very well in debates because I can see the other person's point-of-view. I almost always prefer the underdog or the sidekick in movies and television, not the main character. And I stand up for anyone who isn't there in an arguement. I love bad movies, romantic comedies, and sarcastic comedians. I have an impressive collection of shark movies alone, and every Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode I could get my hands on. I also am intensely interested in how people cope with major stress. A great example of this is how peasants in Europe coped during the Great Schism, when people actually thought that no one could get into heaven because there was no clear Pope (Catholics should know what I am referring to).

These things make up my character, and whether I like it or not, are going to show up in my work. I want to flesh out the characters to represent a single thought or ideal, and watch it play out in the plot of the story. So in Moonlit, I put a little of myself in Lyka, the heroine. She is a wildlife biologist who has lived a pretty sheltered life among her books and labwork and animals that don't talk. At the very beginning of the story, her life is thrown into the unknown. How will she deal with that? We don't know how she will deal with that yet, as I have only written about two chapters. I daresay that she will manage much the same way I might if I were thrown into a similar situation. Hopefully, that doesn't spell doom for too many of the book's characters...


  1. I'm not sure, but I think you just called me a big tasty parfait. I can live with this.

    On a more serious note, you are an environmentalist. Given how much you care about nature and keeping "wild things wild", perhaps you should incorporate some of your thoughts on those subjects into Moonlit. It seems a natural (no pun intended) type of story to explore such concepts.

    Werewolves, to me, are the very definition of wild animals. A story where man tries to control such creatures is ripe with chances to dicuss man attempts to control other animals. And attempts to limit the spread of lycanthropy dovetails nicely with ideas about wildlife management and the spreading of other diseases.

    Making Lyka a wildlife biologist gives you a great angle for taking about the ideas directly and for working with them in more subtle ways. I think it makes for storylines your can really sink your teeth into. (Pun intended.)

  2. I guess in a way, I did. I think you have many and varied layers, and who doesn't love a parfait?

    On another note, I have thought about putting some of my environmentalism into the story, but I haven't gotten anywhere near a place to even think about putting it yet. I have however, scratched the surface of infections, hence the view against ostrafication.