Writers aren’t crazy.
We just make up random worlds.
Normal people don’t.
The eternal question: did I think hard about this poem when I wrote it or did I mail it in?
And the answer is: I actually thought about this.
In our podcast about writer’s responsibilities, CC touched on artistic temperament, the cliche that describes the outside-the-box personalities possessed by those gifted with rare insights to our lives. Mozart and his music, Picasso and his art, Jim Morrison and his stage antics (google “The Doors,” kids). The first Neanderthal to drum out a beat on the cave walls was probably looked upon with wary eyes and held at arm’s length.
I can’t speak for other writers, but yes, making up random worlds and keeping the details straight in my mind would be enough to drive normal people batty. What details, you ask? From my books:
- Eye and hair colors.
- The fit of a deputy’s uniform.
- The name of the Child Protective Services’ computer system.
- Character names (I’m the worst!).
- Descriptions of the landscape for novels set in deserts and cities.
- Breed of dogs (they’re all mutts, but remember the color of their fur!).
- Makes and models of cars and sidearms.
- Food eaten on a political campaign. (Every brand of chicken.)
- The knee that received the wound (left or right).
- A character’s favorite sexual position.
- Is the trailer park north, south, east, or west of town? (South)
- Number of Purple Hearts awarded. (I’ll get back to you.)
- Number of siblings, and is the character the youngest? (Three and yep.)
And on and on and on. These and two thousand other plot points are the details that readers focus on, especially if you’re writing a sequel.
“Artistic temperament” and “random worlds”? Oh yeah. They’re not just cliches. They’re a way of life.
I wonder what normal people are doing tonight?