Process versus Pie-Face
Sometimes, when I listen to or read about a writer talking about their ‘process,’ it makes me wish that I had a magic catapult loaded with banana cream pies. In an instant, that person, whomever and wherever he or she is, would be staring out at the world through a mask of whipped cream and crust.
It’s both maddening and dull, suffering through a monologue from Writer A about how she gets to her Zen place via zither music so the inner angels can take over and suddenly time stops and the unicorns are talking to her, or from Writer B who channels his inner demons earned on the jai alai battlefields of Connecticut so that he can truly capture the blood, sweat, and tears of a Wall Street vampire.
In COLD FURY and FLICKER & BURN, I write from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old woman, Sara Jane Rispoli, who becomes involved in Chicago organized crime. I’m not channeling my inner high school girl or my inner gangster. I can do it because women are human beings, and because everyone, under the right or wrong circumstances, has the capacity to become a criminal.
Enough with the inner. For me, it’s about looking at the outer world and seeing how terrible, glorious, screwed up, and beautiful it is, throwing it into a scenario that interests me (and hopefully readers,) and writing it all down. A plain fact of real life is that people will either react one way to a situation, or another. The point of fiction is for characters to react in ways that are unexpected, and satisfying.
If I have a process, and I’m not sure I do, that’s it. Feel free to fling a pie in my direction.