IssuesReturned from writers' retreat energized. Tired, looking like hell, back hurting, but...oddly energized, because I learned a few things. #1 - I have issues.
Many of us are so afraid of putting ourselves onto the page that our characters tend to be "cardboard", one-dimensional, two- at best. Some are scared that we'll reveal too much about ourselves and that nobody will like us. Others try so hard that nobody likes them or their characters anyway. And a smaller portion of us fear we'll scare the shit out of folks. It goes beyond "what if they don't like me" to "what if they want to lock me up or avoid me altogether?" - and then...
Some of us are genuinely clueless. We know the mechanics of writing but not characterization, because we are either so shallow that we only scratch the surface, or we're so friggin' deep we're in danger of drowning ourselves.
Somewhere in the midst of character chaos lie those of us who haven't made peace with our baggage from the past. I'm one of those. I'll think I've buried the dead and emerged like some phoenix from the ashes, but whenever my stuff is read aloud, I marvel...you are still angry as hell, and it shows. You're not psychotic, but you definitely have issues. I can say this because I know I drop my pants and put myself 'out there', on the page, every time I write something. And when it's read aloud, it ain't always pretty. Anger comes in many disguises - mine is cloaked in sarcasm and innuendo.
What to do? Keep writing, I guess. Hell, I dunno. I know that I never really smoked, drank, swore, or even skinny dipped (which I love - lol) until I was nearly 29. What happened doesn't matter. What matters is that whatever pushed me toward becoming an adrenaline junkie is still there, lingering in the murky past. It can't drag me back--I'm not afraid in the least of that. But it can cloud the waters of my mind, make me lose focus of what matters most. I used to do drugs and dye my hair purple. Now I just write. But my female characters (okay, protagonists) who are afraid to show emotion, reveal what they truly fear and feel, won't garner me any sympathy or requests for manuscripts until I allow them to soften a bit. They can smart-ass themselves out of danger or relationships, but the chill factor needs to heat up, thaw them, give their arthritic attempts at communication some vitamin E or something. Adrenaline junkies take risks, but they're not necessarily emotional ones...and emotion is what sells, folks.
Back to the drawing board. I've joined a new critique group. Haven't belonged to a do-or-die crit group in ages. Never for once thought I knew it all. Just dropped out of my own life for a spell and watched it from the sidelines. That's the trouble with allowing others to infiltrate your subconscious and become a part of your everyday life - lol. If they give a damn about you, they remind you (even if they are unaware of doing so) that you're still breathing, that you're not dead yet...and, therefore, neither is your writing.
~ Lazarus Sunny Lyn *shaking off the dust and starting fresh...again* (I've had more fresh starts than Richard freakin' Nixon)