… and what I am currently struggling with while writing.
If what I write is still around in fifty years, I want readers to be able to recognize this one thing about my style, even if everything else is a blur: When I write a character he or she is of the “right here and right now” in THIS generation and this point in human evolution. What defines US? We are not the Scarlet Letter generation, even though we were all required to read it. Modern humans — at least the majority – may judge people on surface issues but they themselves do not see themselves as bad people, even if they are –in fact — really bad people. What I try to do is take “really bad people” and make you understand several things about them at once.
Thing one: I want you to see them as they see themselves. In real life we seldom take the time to analyze how some people can live with themselves and actually be quite content with how they behave and fine with the things they do. I see the press dismissing this generation as unserious, selfish, judgmental, backward … a ton of labels that describe everything and nothing, but labels don’t allow you to know this generation of humans at all. Which brings me to …
Thing Two: I want you to like them. In spite of yourself, and especially in spite of how reprehensible the character may be, and the fact that you would never want to have to deal with a person like that in real life, I want you to want to do lunch with them … against your better judgment.
Enter Haydee and her mother Anna, two stereotypes everyone has encountered and learned to avoid if they are wise but usually you can’t because they are forces of nature you just have to deal with because they will not be dealt with, with any finality … not even after death.
I write to entertain myself, first.
In the back of my head I’ve always had this goal I wanted to achieve WITH writing, beyond self entertainment. I want it to reflect the reality of who we are as human beings here and now so future generations will not look back at the wash of literature and news and say good riddance to them, they were greedy, profligate, self serving, ignorant, cynical wastrels or zealots or intransigent hate mongers or what ever the surface impression history presents about us.
Oh. We are all of that bad stuff, don’t misunderstand me … but I want the reader to see how we rationalized it in the here and now and make them wish they were here in the wild west days on the edge of the abyss. I want you to like my characters even though you shouldn’t. You really — if you knew what was good for you — shouldn’t.
From a romance writer perspective, I want the reader to stop searching for Prince Charming and start seeing the charm of the broken works of art right there in front of them. Once you understand them — once you can see them the way they see themselves, you will find you love the flaws most of all.
That’s my ultimate goal, anyway … and why it takes me awhile to flesh out the story once it’s written.
Plot first. I don’t want it to be character driven. It has to be the structure of the story that pulls you along. But. The characters need to keep you turning the page saying “Oh.my.god.” every twenty minutes or so.
Heh. And it all started with a friend saying a guy named Howard simply COULD NOT BE HOT.