August 20, 2020
I just had a conversation with a writer friend about authentic writing and it dawned on me that she was holding back. I could tell where her writing was authentic and where it was reserved. The result were characters that would refrain from vulgarity or expletives. Now, even the most reserved character tends to let loose under severe pressure or physical pain or emotional trauma. Fiddlesticks! and poop! only go so far to let readers know how the character is feeling and dialogue such as this tells us more about the writer than the character when all the focus should be on the characters. I told her to write like her mother is not in the room. I say this from experience because my first two books, written in my late twenties, were reserved like my parents were standing over me. I’m in my 40s now and I don’t fear the wrath of my family and reserved friends like I used to. Those who know me know I am not reserved, so those first books were written inauthentically. Hence, the reason I never took them off the shelf after I wrote them. I’ve gotten bolder, braver since then. The last two books I wrote, Popcorn & Politics and Redeemer (which will be finished by the end of August), are unashamedly authentic and that’s why they work. Plot holes of P&P aside, knowing the protagonist Jim is easy because his shit is out there for all to see. I had to learn to write this way. To be authentic. It didn’t come easy but now it’s all I know. And it works. The stories I write won’t be for everyone but they will be for that perfect reader. I know you are out there because you write to me and message me and encourage me. You don’t mind a pants-splitting fall down the fucking stairs because you’ve had that fall, too. Just like me.
As for my newest book, Redeemer, it is officially the best book I’ve ever written and I’m not even done it yet. Six books of experience has told me this. I’m glad I kept going.
Thanks for staying with me, Dear Reader. P&P will be serialized for free on this site once I’m finished my last edit. In the meantime, keep reading whatever floats your boat. Stay tuned…
I think I may be one of the reserved writers, especially when it comes to my blog posts. But as I near 40 myself, I’m starting to let go and find my own authentic voice. Thanks for this great reminder to stay true to myself!