Morning coffee and musings

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I work on a lot of projects every day – I’m a morning person, so mostly I get the creative things done in the wee hours and the administrative or chore related tasks at midday, and then the afternoon and early evening is spent reading – which includes rereading, proofreading and my favorite “junk food reading*”.

*”Junk Food Reading” = anything read purely for enjoyment, and that is often “devoured” easily and always leaving me wanting more of the story. Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” series; John Conroe’s “Demon Accords” series; Richard Kadrey’s “Sandman Slim” series; Sam Witt’s “Pitchfork County” series… you get the picture. I read a lot of genres, but my “junk food reading” – which is not meant to cast aspersions on the quality of the writing, but merely to point out that I crave it, and will binge on it, given a chance – all has the paranormal/supernatural in common. Because for me, I enjoy true escapism, into a world that doesn’t exist in this reality. A world where the good guy may get trounced, but good will always prevail.

In the real world, no one thinks of themselves as the villain. We are always the hero in our own story.

I watch the news, and I am reminded of that each and every time I hear of some tragedy – the person who perpetrated whatever crime rarely sees themselves as a criminal. And perhaps it is their own rationalizing of a faulty belief system, but still they will see themselves as the hero in the circumstances.

Why am I musing on this? I have been working on a few writing projects that have “villains”. And while it is easy to create a comic book style criminal, it is much more challenging to write the backstory to someone who is the nemesis to my main character, but believes themselves to be the hero of the piece. I need to understand the circumstances that might lead someone to plan and act the way my “bad guy” does. How much is nature? How much is nurture? Did some tragedy shape this way of thinking? And more importantly (at least for me) how can this character change and grow? And which direction will that take?

I’d like to think that at the end of a story, the characters have undergone some changes. Perhaps the trials of youth will alter them; or a random act of kindness or well, who knows…because as I have mentioned elsewhere, sometimes my characters go places and do things I wasn’t planning. It is an exploration when you are creating a world and the characters that live in it…”terra incognito” (unknown lands).

And so I’ve come full circle in this morning’s blog. My cup is empty. My creative tasks await…and I am ready to get some writing done. Here’s hoping you have a fun and productive day!

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