Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Which I Get Philosophical...

Today, before Sunny left for work, we jumped in the car to go get gas and grab a Subway Sammich.

The weather was absolutely foul. It was cold, dark and there was that despicable mix of rain and wind that cuts into you like a cloud of razor blades.

I left Sunny in the car and got out onto the forecourt to pump the gas.

I was suddenly reminded of a scene in my book. I wont give anything away except to say that it involves an abandoned gas station... but it suddenly occurred to me that the scene would have been a whole lot more interesting and atmospheric if I'd have used a thunderstorm as a background.

Then I got this idea about how lightning flashes in the dark could be used as an awesome plot device.

I got that familiar flash of excitement that I always get when an Inspiron hits me. (Inspirons are tiny energy particles that flow through the universe. Most of them never hit anything, but every so often one will hit the right brain at exactly the right time and kick off an amazing idea. History's geniuses such as DaVinci or Shakespeare have a particular brain chemistry that somehow attracts Inspirons like magnets, people like me get maybe two or three in a lifetime).

Suddenly, I couldn't wait to get home. I was going to get in, grab a cup of coffee, fire up the old word processor and...

Oh, wait. The story I'm thinking of is already published. Literally tens of people have already bought copies.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing actually wrong with the scene as it is (in fact, it's one of my favorites)...but it sucks when you have a really good idea after the thing you're working on is finished.

If you'll allow me to get philosophical for a moment, when you write, you essentially become the 'God' of your own little universe. You create a place, populate it with people, completely control their fate and there's nothing that you can't do or undo.

...at least during the writing process.

When you're writing, you're literally the omnipotent master of this little fictional universe and your character's lives are like putty in your hands, ready to be shaped and sculpted into anything you'd like...but instead of putty, your raw material is is pure idea and, trust me, there is no better media to work with.

If you've never written anything before, let me tell you, it's an exhilarating experience. Your characters take on lives and personalities of their own, and at risk of sounding like a crazy person, they'll actually start to argue with you...but you can see into their heads, change their thoughts and even 'time travel' to change things that have already happened.

The downside of this is that you eventually have to give up that power. When you finish writing and publish, your creation, made of mutable, ever changing idea crystallizes into a real, physical thing and you lose all control over it.

When you read my book, you're likely to have a completely different experience to the one I had. You'll see different things in the characters than I did, everything from judgements based on the way they act to the way they look and sound...but this is totally normal and completely right.

After all, you're a visitor to a world I created...and that gives you a totally different perspective.

3 comments:

Sunny(aka Lavada) said...

That's one of the reasons i like reading so much...it allows me to visit different worlds and never leave the safety of my comfy chair...altho- sometimes when I'm reading i get so caught up in the world I'm visiting it FEELS like I'm really experiencing it in reality. I have a VERY vivid imagination- as you VERY well KNOW!!

Evan 08 said...

...Literally tens of people have already bought copies...

Laughed out loud at that turn of phrase

MC Etcher said...

It's print on demand, right? So you can still make changes and resubmit the file, no?