I’m preoccupied and processing what might be a chicken and the egg thing: do I write stories because of the things I am thinking about or am I thinking about this stuff because of the stories I’m writing. I’ve mentioned (not TOO defensively, mind you) before how my blog IS a writer’s blog because it’s the blog of a writer, mostly just the thoughts of a writer more than “how to” tips from one.
I think the best writing comes from a certain emotional place; an emotional core or emotional honesty. It’s what we imbue our characters with and what adds resonance to our stories. So what I’m writing about here is what I’m typically working through in a story or project. Or vice versa: what I’m processing through emotionally is what makes a story. Besides having to put up with our moods, the emotional frisson of creation, there is the schizophrenic aspect of life with a writer. It’s bad enough that we spend so many hours jumping in and out of characters heads, lives, and points of view.
This is just something I’m once again fully realizing with my blogs and the topics I’m thinking about. Let’s see, issues of poverty, addictions, homelessness, shame, broken relationships, being stuck, and relationships with God. Right now I’m going back and forth between projects. I’m helping out on a coffeetable book project for Outreach Inc; a collaborative project with Jason Sizemore about a dystopian future; a postapocalyptic novel with Wrath James White (thinking through the nature of God: the god we construct in our mind and theologies vs. the God we experience and who defies our imagination and expectations); and the third novel in my Knights of Breton Court series, King’s War (writing about the despair and hopelessness of broken relationships and characters as they trying to find redemption and return to their mission).
This is all a part of writing what you know. We read and write in part because we are relational beings moved by feeling. We respond, in part, to the emotions of a story (you want to argue that it’s not a part of the draw to the Twilight series?). I may not know exactly what a dystopian future may look like, but I do know my own emotions, what I’m working through, my history, and my story. This is what makes your characters real and that’s what your readers connect with. It doesn’t matter who you are, we all experience the same things. We experience joy, pain, longing, sadness, self-hate, self-love, jealousy, anger and so on. It’s our humanity, our common experience, that connects us.