Other people can retire. Or change jobs. Or find a hobby. Go on vacation and turn off their brains. A writer? I don’t know if we can ever turn our brains off. There’s always something, someone, some conversation, or view, or object that screams a new story to us. Driving down the road I can’t help but look at houses and wonder about the people inside them…what’s their story; what are they hiding; drama or comedy or racier.
I sound like a stalker with that last sentence and frankly, I am, partially. I’m never not imagining something. The difference is I’m not interested in who the real people are or what they’re actually doing. I don’t care what the conversation is about…as in I don’t care to learn the reality of it, I want to put my own spin on the tale. Make it more. Maybe explore the emotions. But, I sure don’t want to hear the everydayness of their lives.
Let’s be honest, everydayness gets mundane. Would you really read a book or watch a movie/television show if it was ordinary life? No, we want to read about falling in love and riding off in the sunset and forget that dirty clothes still need to be cleaned. That the bathroom is a mess or he’s left the seat up. We want the excitement of catching a killer without the danger of being killed…or accused. Then we might want the drama of the courtroom arguments, but not the digging through case histories for why the search was illegal…leave that to the writers and the real people.
As writers, we get to delve in and run rampant through fictional lives. We cause chaos and heart-swooning love affairs without the clean-up. None of our characters are going to come crying to us that they can’t take anymore simply because we will make sure they can…we’ll give them the out real life doesn’t tell us is coming or not.
Our characters will be perfect with perfectly designed flaws. And the ones that we kill off, well, that’s why they were written.
Then we move on to the – what’s next. Sometimes it will be a continuation of the same characters and sometimes it’ll be someone new…something new.
And this is why writers can’t stop. We’re constantly asking…what’s next and what if…and no one is giving us the answers except ourselves.