Writers are strange animals. They’re solitary mammals, prone to long
stretches of hibernation unrelated to weather conditions. Generally, they’re
pale, wear glasses, and for some reason I’ve never been able to figure out,
tend to wear flamboyant hats. What’s up with that?
If you suspect there’s a writer gene in your DNA, here’s a surefire test
that doesn’t require a blood draw or even a swab of the inside of your mouth.
1. You kill off your imaginary playmates.
Authors invent people. You craft words to connect readers to your
characters, pulling at their heart strings, making them best buddies. Then all
for the sake of story, you take those imaginary friends and ramp up the
catastrophes. Bam. Bam. Bam. All leading to a horrific climax…
“Meet Susan. She’s blonde,
friendly, the girl next door with good dental hygiene. Her freckles are
endearing and she helps little old ladies across the street. Everyone loves
Susan. Whoopsidoodle! Susan just got hit by a Mack truck. Her dog died. And now
there’s a one-armed stalker with an eye patch that wants to drink her blood.
Poor, poor Susan.”
2. Your skill at lying
is only exceeded by those in Washington.
Writers get paid to tell whoppers, kind of like
attorneys, only without the debt of law school. It’s an author’s job to
convince others of the plausibility of their story, to pull the reader into a
whole new world—one they can taste, touch and smell. Remember Susan? Yeah. Enough
3. You’re an
uber-frustrated control freak.
You sit around all day, controlling what your
characters say and wear, manipulating how they act and feel. You are a god of
your fictional realm. Nothing happens unless you make it so. Enjoy the feeling,
minion, because when you surface from storyland, you don’t get to control
reviews, contracts, publisher advances, or book placement, and you’re at the
complete mercy of the Amazon recommendation algorithm.
4. You long for a
raging bout of tinnitus just to shut up the voices in your head for a while.
When you’re asked about where you get your story
ideas, you respond with, “What…you mean you don’t have mega-plex screens
playing inside your head?” At least that’s how you answer the first time. After
you’ve been scarred by the horrified face twisting that answer receives, you
learn to reply, “Oh, here and there.” But that does nothing to clamp the lips
of the story sirens tempting you to listen to quite possibly the best plot idea
ever in the history of mankind. And don’t bother buying the sound cancelling
earbuds. It doesn’t work.
5. You fly your freak
Hey, if being nutty-nuts was good enough for
Tolstoy, Hemmingway, and Poe, you’re all for it. Besides which, you know you’re
not batty, bonkers or beserk. You’re eccentric.
five gonging a bell in your head and heart? If so, guess what. Yep. You’re a
writer. Don’t worry, though. In this day of political correctness, no one will
dare label you a nutjob for fear of a lawsuit.
But that wasn’t always the case…(cue shameless new release teaser). In my
upcoming novel, A HEART DECEIVED, the topic of insanity is explored in
placating and enraging her brother, whom she depends upon for support. Yet if
his anger is unleashed, so is his madness. Miri must keep his descent into
lunacy a secret, or he’ll be committed to an asylum—and she’ll be sent to the
Ethan Goodwin has been on the run all of his
life—from family, from the law … from God. After a heart-changing encounter
with the gritty Reverand John Newton, Ethan would like nothing more than to
become a man of integrity—an impossible feat for an opium addict charged with
When Ethan shows up on Miri’s doorstep, her
balancing act falls to pieces. Both Ethan and Miri are caught in a web of lies
and deceit—fallacies that land Ethan in prison and Miri in the asylum with her
brother. Only the truth will set them free.
your story world, pick up A HEART DECEIVED and visit mine…available June 20th
by David C. Cook.