Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reality Bites

"Is it real, or did you just make that up?" This phrase marches through my head when I write a scene. My deeper subconscious houses the ever present Ugly Inner Critic. At times he's silent, but his snickers aren't lost on me whenever I wonder if the scene I've just written will end up at the end of someones finger point.

The finger point, just my metaphor for whenever someone else reads my work and says things such as, "A guy wouldn't say something that," or, "Not a very sexy name for a hero," and my personal favorite, "A horse would never act like that." Hasn't anyone seen Mr. Ed? Just kidding, but still...

Let's get something straight, shall we? I write fiction, my loose interpretation of make-believe. In the worlds I create, yeah, a guy would "say something like that," heroes won't have "sexy" names, and horses get to act any way that I want them to. I'm writing to entertain, as well as provide an escape from reality.

Last week author Erica Hayes made a guest appearance at Magical Musings. Here's something she said that resonated with me, "The more like real life, the more boring the book." I screamed at the monitor, "Amen, sister!" because she validated what I always felt, but through the opinions of others, I began to suppress.

And here's something else. The things perceived as un-real by the "finger-pointers" I've experienced in real life. What can I say? My past is filled with weirdness. And I take license to embellish on reality as a fiction writer, because I CAN.

As writers, shouldn't we pay attention to the unreal things that happen in real time? I do. The unexpected things people have said or done stay with me, almost like they're tattooed to my brain. Yet, comments from the "finger-pointers" stay with me while I write, as if they know my characters better than me.

And that's the point. No one knows my characters or my story better. The situations I come up with, crazy as they are, come from weird experiences in my life. My past is sprinkled with exceptions to the rules, which have fed my imagination. I refuse to "get real."

So the next time I sit down with the Epic (my metaphor/pet name for WIP, not to be confused with War and Peace), I'm going to picture Erica Hayes pointing her finger at me and saying, "The more like real life, the more boring the book." And at least, for me, the writing experience will be absent Ugly Inner Critic.

Anyone else utilize weird and unexpected experiences from their past in their present writings?

Disclaimer: This blog piece isn't a disclaimer on my writing, or an attempt at self-righteousness. ;)