Wednesday, September 19, 2012

High Maintenance

A common piece of advice writers get -- one I agree with only in the broadest of senses -- is to write what you know. Some people take it too literally, thinking they can only use occupations/locations/experiences personally familiar to them. Not so.

An author who's never been shot at can realistically write how it feels. A mother who's never lost a child can write a mother who has realistically. A woman married to a chubby, balding accountant can easily relate what it feels like to fall in love with a tall, dark, mysterious and dangerous spy. All it takes is imagination.

None of my characters are like me. Sure, we have things in common, but the sad fact is, my life is boring (just read my bio; you'll see), and the really sad fact is, I'm high-maintenance. I'm an emotional mess. I'm a klutz of the first degree. I'm allergic to everything. I require great amounts of attention and care (thank You, God, for a husband who can handle it). I'm not the sort of heroine I want to read about, and I think the sort of hero that heroine would require would stretch the limits of believability.

But I don't have to be a heroine.

I just have to be able to relate to one.

8 comments:

  1. Guess I never noticed the high maintenance part. You are a wonderful, artistic, caring person who knows a helluva lot about a lot. I'm so glad you spoke to me so long ago and we're tighter than ticks on a dog.

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    1. Thanks, Meg! Honestly, I used to be the epitome of low maintenance. It started with seasonal allergies, then spread inisidiously from there -- broken bones, panic attacks, etc. But I'd rather be an emotional one who cries too easily than one who can't cry at all!

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  2. Look at you, breakin' the rules...

    My next story has a veterinarian as a minor character, but when I finished my first book (that one that shall forever remain under my bed) several people noted it had too much 'veterinary detail'.

    If writers couldn't escape into the imaginary world of their stories, there would be darned few books.

    -T

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    1. I think I was a rule-breaker from the start. My first book was about a cowboy/bull rider/rancher with a heroine who ranched, as well, and took place in Wyoming. Four things I knew next to nothing about. If I'd done my research, that would have been okay, but I didn't, which is why that book has long since been destroyed.

      I sometimes think writers are generally notoriously nosy people who choose to write because it's them an excuse for all the learning, questions, traveling, researching. :)

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  3. Why do you think I write Paranormal? I figured I could just make up everything and not have to worry about being realistic? Then I realized, "damn, now I have to come up with NEW stuff."

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    1. LOL, Holly. AND you've got to watch out for people who believe paranormal subjects have strict limits. I read an article once by a vampire-romance author who insisted on setting people straight about the reality of what a vampire could/couldn't do.

      I was goggle-eyed, going, "They're FICTIONAL creatures. They can do pretty much whatever their creator WANTS them to do."

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  4. Replies
    1. Um, should I have said "curious" instead? :)

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