Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Writer Growing Up

Let’s take a step back in time. Not a massive leap or anything, just ten short years to look at what I was writing back then. This time ten years ago, I was halfway through my first year of university. I’d almost finished my first semester doing a uni course [as opposed to a TAFE one] and realising that I might actually be able to make it. My stories were dark, horror noir, slasher types without any real insight into the whys or hows the attacks were happening. Or they were ghost revenge stories. There was no real depth to them. Just straightforward exposition/dialogue/description pieces that were a filler to the anthology my Diploma course put out at the end of each year. I was still in that whole ‘oh my god I’m at uni’ mind-space. It was a big step for someone that no one else expected to leave home, let alone my home state! At the time I was experimenting with the ‘slice of life’ type stories that didn’t need to have a beginning or a conclusive end. My characters rarely, if ever, got a happily ever after. My central female characters had a bit of Buffy in them, because of how much time I spent rewatching old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and marvelling at Joss Whedon’s story creation. I think, at that time, I was working on a piece that surrounded a central female character with telekinesis who was working in some sort of factory with her friends, each one possessing some ‘supernatural’ ability. Then they all went to a training facility to teach them how to use their powers. Then The X Men came out and I realised that, even without knowing about this world, I had created something similar. So I put mine aside while I worked on other projects. Flash forward to now: I experiment with different genres. I wrote Ferris Wheel in the magical realism genre. Dark Destiny is a horror with supernatural overtones. I’m currently working on a dystopian noir fiction piece that is a speculative look at the unemployment system. Now though, I understand a bit better about the psychological insights into each of my characters. I want their motivation for their actions to be clear to myself as a writer, and to the reader. I understand the need for action that progesses the story as opposed to brings it to a screeching stop. Growing as a writer doesn’t mean that you have to necessary let go of what you know to create something new. It’s a lot about building on what you already have within you to create something else. Something different. And not being scared to show another that this piece came from within your mind, dark and scary as it might be.

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