Writers are strange animals. They’re solitary mammals, prone to long stretches of hibernation unrelated to weather conditions. Generally, they’re pale, wear glasses, and for some reason I’ve never been able to figure out, tend to wear flamboyant hats. What’s up with that?
If you suspect there’s a writer gene in your DNA, here’s a surefire test that doesn’t require a blood draw or even a swab of the inside of your mouth.
1. You kill off your imaginary playmates.
Authors invent people. You craft words to connect readers to your characters, pulling at their heart strings, making them best buddies. Then all for the sake of story, you take those imaginary friends and ramp up the catastrophes. Bam. Bam. Bam. All leading to a horrific climax…
“Meet Susan. She’s blonde, friendly, the girl next door with good dental hygiene. Her freckles are endearing and she helps little old ladies across the street. Everyone loves Susan. Whoopsidoodle! Susan just got hit by a Mack truck. Her dog died. And now there’s a one-armed stalker with an eye patch that wants to drink her blood. Poor, poor Susan.”
2. Your skill at lying is only exceeded by those in Washington.
Writers get paid to tell whoppers, kind of like attorneys, only without the debt of law school. It’s an author’s job to convince others of the plausibility of their story, to pull the reader into a whole new world—one they can taste, touch and smell. Remember Susan? Yeah. Enough said.
3. You’re an uber-frustrated control freak.
You sit around all day, controlling what your characters say and wear, manipulating how they act and feel. You are a god of your fictional realm. Nothing happens unless you make it so. Enjoy the feeling, minion, because when you surface from storyland, you don’t get to control reviews, contracts, publisher advances, or book placement, and you’re at the complete mercy of the Amazon recommendation algorithm.
4. You long for a raging bout of tinnitus just to shut up the voices in your head for a while.
When you’re asked about where you get your story ideas, you respond with, “What…you mean you don’t have mega-plex screens playing inside your head?” At least that’s how you answer the first time. After you’ve been scarred by the horrified face twisting that answer receives, you learn to reply, “Oh, here and there.” But that does nothing to clamp the lips of the story sirens tempting you to listen to quite possibly the best plot idea ever in the history of mankind. And don’t bother buying the sound cancelling earbuds. It doesn’t work.
5. You fly your freak flag high.
Hey, if being nutty-nuts was good enough for Tolstoy, Hemmingway, and Poe, you’re all for it. Besides which, you know you’re not batty, bonkers or beserk. You’re eccentric.
But that wasn’t always the case…(cue shameless new release teaser). In my upcoming novel, A HEART DECEIVED, the topic of insanity is explored in historical detail…
Ethan Goodwin has been on the run all of his life—from family, from the law ... from God. After a heart-changing encounter with the gritty Reverand John Newton, Ethan would like nothing more than to become a man of integrity—an impossible feat for an opium addict charged with murder.
When Ethan shows up on Miri's doorstep, her balancing act falls to pieces. Both Ethan and Miri are caught in a web of lies and deceit—fallacies that land Ethan in prison and Miri in the asylum with her brother. Only the truth will set them free.