There’s such an interesting smorgasbord of items to post about this week that at one time or the other in the past few days I’ve contemplated writing about all of them. But then, something happened and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. It’s the kind of thing we read about in our genre and it’s disagreeable enough experiencing it on the page. But to confront it in real life is something most of us – thank God – never have the “opportunity” to do.
I’m at once horrified, yet drawn to it the way I might be to a car accident. Horrible, terrible, yet compelling me to look.
Awful as it sounds, it also is drawing me in creatively. There’s a character on the fringes of my mind, gathering matter, going from a dark shapeless form, gradually adding features, thoughts, motivation. Gradually subsuming someone I know (or at least thought I knew) with someone I’m getting to know.
I have no place for this character to go yet. In my previous and current books, my “hero” has been a hero. The person hovering on the edges of my mind today is an anti-hero. I already know he cannot be redeemed; he cannot be transformed into someone of value. He is in a hell that he cannot ever escape.
Can I write about this character? Can I build a story around him that contains what we all want in a story – an engaging plot, characters who matter to us, an outcome that satisfies? At the very best, can I touch someone’s funny bone, reach their heart, tap into their deep-down desires, fears, and beliefs?
I can’t write about the person I “know.” First of all, it’s become obvious that I DON’T know him. But beyond that, story telling, I believe, is more than taking a real person and embroidering a tale around them. I will never understand what is at the core of the “real” man. But I will have to understand the center of my character, his lifeblood, and what will activate that switch in his brain that will make him into what he is on my page.
I’m not sure I’m up to this. For one thing, I’m deep in a sequel to my first thriller, MESSAGE FROM PANAMA. The sequel, ESCAPE TO PANAMA, has been the victim of computer problems (whoever heard of backing up a computer, then having the computer fail and the backup, too?), among other gremlins. The last thing I want is the intrusion of a growing, demonic character that visits me in my dreams and waking hours both and who screams for my attention.
I don’t know where this is headed but I’ll probably post about it again. For now, please wish me luck in dealing with this perverted muse. I will need it.