The real writer please stand

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The writer and two imposters faced the panel and answered questions. Among the highfalutin words sprinkled in the questions were artistic, clever, imaginative, inspiration, and creative spirit.

He could be profiled as visionary or daydreamer, but so could the plumber and banker beside him. The author wanted to discuss the force that drives him to write, but the question was never asked.

2The force that drives the writer

Bone-chiling fears during youth took root in the corners of his mind. He feared the dark, heights, and loss. Shadows appeared in the night. Evil hid under the bed and behind the closet door.

Loss of money, possesions … love, success. He checked the door locks twice, three times, and two more.

Childhood memories cluttered his head–racing home from horror films at the movie theater, Grandma’s bedtime story of Ole’ Lady Longfingers who made her home underneath the bed, and Grandpa’s stories of the Great Depression.

Heated voices waked him. A door slammed, an engine started, and a mother wept. Relationships are colored with fear.

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He never woke one morning and decided to become a writer. It struck and never lay at rest. Journal, notepad, or whiteness of a computer screen, the act of writing paved the road to meaning and understanding. Characters and plot forced him face-to-face with inner demons.

The taping ended. The author went home, poured a drink, and fired up the computer.

Believable characters: Dime a dozen

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Get out of the office. Stand on street corners, visit coffee shops, go to a bar. The world is full of characters. Believable? Hey, I believe anything. Doesn’t the juiciest gossip begin with You won’t believe this, but . . . ? 

Weird-ass quirky character material is as close as my family tree. I don’t have to leave the house to find it. Change the sex, give them an entire make-over. Use mannerisms and physical descriptions from people you observe. They will never know.

Eavesdropping should be tax deductible for writers. Master the art. Use your imagination. A Facebook follower overheard a neighbor tell a friend, “My fingerprints are on the knife.” My imagination kicked in so fast, I forgot to read the rest of the post.

After all, the people writing contemporary fiction are authors. Writers come with imagination and a weirdness of its own.