Saturday, August 9, 2008

...just open a vein.

If home is where the heart is, then writing about home would be an extreme act of self-revelation. It takes less courage to get inked and pierced. One is camouflage, the other vivisection -–

I don't know who said that, but I'd give them credit if I knew. I've been doing a lot of thinking about writing--and why I'm suddenly drawn to the Harlequin home and family lines when I've spent such a long time writing romantic suspense. I'm a big fan of romantic adventure. I won't lie and say--well, it's the suspense that I like. It's the thrill of the chase, the adventure and bigger than life characters. It's why if you give me the choice between a James Patterson and a Clive Cussler, I'd still pick the Clive Cussler, because even though I know Dirk can't raise the Titanic or stop a flood from taking out the entire mid-west, I'm there for the ride, not to find more things to worry about.

We're told, write what you know. And I've been reading adventure since the day I found Robin Hood. My very first wip, back when I was ten was a paranormal sci-fi adventure. But...the more I write, the more I realize that "voice" is the piece of you that goes down on paper. I can't write a light-hearted comedy to save my life, and for me--chick-lit morphs into urban fantasy. I'm dark, angsty--and ninety percent of the time, angry at the world. As writers, we're always on the verge of multiple personalities, using the bits inside of us to seed the souls of our characters. And maybe that's why critique partners are so hard to find.

To write in a way that resonates means sharing those bits with someone else, and not in the way you share with the person you love or are married to, but all the dark, grotty bits that should never see light, all the strange thoughts and shadows that need to be cleaned in the final draft, because strong writing is sometimes the stuff that spills out when you're writing and nothing else matters but bleeding on paper and blood becomes your world.

I've always written about home, because to me home has always been StallingCo. It's a fictionalized totally extreme version, but then Fallon died--and I couldn't write anymore. Dead Gorgeous was hard--and didn't flow.

Sometimes, you suffer a sea change--and the seeds get all waterlogged and don't sprout. Sometimes they dry out, but grow in ways you didn't expect. And I discovered that I don't want to save the world, or send in a spec ops team. I want to save...just a little corner of it, and make it all better. One person at a time.

7 comments:

Deanna said...

That says a lot, profoundly. I will chew on it.

Alice Audrey said...

I know what you mean about the home thing. Look as Suzie's House. It's all about home - what makes a house a home, what happens to people when they make a home together, what can threaten a home.

I don't think it's possible to write Romance without some element of home. After all, Romance is about the forming of a family - at least the couple on which a family is based - and it's hard to do that without dragging home into it.

As to focusing on saving just a corner of the world, sometimes thats where the most powerful stories are.

Unhinged said...

I, er, never want to write about home. I've tried several times, at different time periods in my life--both dark and light--and I'd rather NOT. The vivisection thing and all, you know.

I used to think it might be better after those I was, er, WRITING about, were dead. And then I thought if I could write about the good, interesting things, that would make it acceptable (to me). But it didn't. Too embarrassing. Too personal.

I think I'm paddling in the same sea of change you are--or were. Honestly, I don't know. I just feel at odds now, but kind of hopeful and grasping at the same time because I don't want to let myself down again.

But I've always wanted to create the same magic I felt while reading. To make a difference the way a writer can. I can't run, hit a target straight-on, or be anything more than woefully human.

But I do have the power to make a reader forget that.

jodi said...

lol, Deanna--when I go maudlin', I get way too somber, but it's been bothering me why certain things just aren't fun anymore.

Alice.

You have to submit Suzie. Trust me, that's some powerful writing. Your voice is strong and true when you write "pure" contemporaries. I wish you'd submit to Superromance.

Unhingey--for me, home has changed, and it's been hard dealing with it. I can't think of anywhere else to work through it than my writing, and maybe that's why it stopped for awhile, because I couldn't, and still can't let go.

Jeanna said...

Sometimes it seems as if your home needs to be under a rock filled with insanity and incest in order to write a best seller.

Alice Audrey said...

Lord, Jeanna, I hope not. I like my home loving.

Jeanna said...

A little less screaming and sugar would have been nice.