- You will not find yourself directly represented in one of my characters. The people in my novels/stories are partly inspiration and partly machination as I shape the story and the people through whom I will tell it. If anyone thinks one of my characters is a thinly-disguised version of themselves, I would have to say they are wrong or that it's pure happenstance. My creative process just doesn't work that way.
- You will not find much foul language. People who know me well would quickly testify to the fact that not only am I not offended by profanity, I've been known to use the same freely and often in the right settings and when properly provoked. But not in my novels or short stories. An occasional no-no word will slip in because, let's face it, people sometimes talk that way. Or sometimes I'll use it for emphasis, an exclamatory remark that expresses a character's surprise or anger or whatever. Usually though, I would much rather find more creative ways of showing emotion or getting a point across.
- You will not find explicit sex. I've read too many books where an author has tried--and failed--to adroitly straddle the line between pornographic trash and blush-evoking titillation. A lot of times, it just comes out either disgusting or full of corny euphemisms. I choose not to go there at all. My writing is strictly in the to-the-bedroom-door mode because I'd rather let a reader use his/her imagination about what happens when two characters get into a romantic way. Generally, what's important is that they "did the deed" and not the intimate details of what that entailed.
- You will not find graphic violence. Oh, yes, there will be violence at times, but I don't dwell on the gory details. Stephen King wrote in his book, Danse Macabre, (a must-read for anyone interested in the horror genre), that revulsion is the lowest level of horror, the gross-out kind that gets you in the gut and makes you want to vomit. I'm not out to make anybody sick. At the highest level is complete surprise, something you did not expect at all. Now that takes some doing. Will I put in fight scenes? Yes. Will a character occasionally expire in a messy fashion? Yes. But don't expect a detailed depiction of the resulting carnage. I don't find that interesting and I'm sure many readers don't either. I'll put in what's necessary to move the plot or to provide a piece of information that points to the conclusion in the interest of playing fair.
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Sunday, May 8, 2011
Someone I work with at my day job recently asked if she would recognize people from the company in the characters in my book. I thought I would take this opportunity to answer that question by listing what you will not find in my writing.