Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Writing Identity

So, I'm WAY over that writer's block. But it's interesting: all kinds of new questions rise up. When I was last prolific, I was a late-twenties-something person with only temporary attachments to anything, certainly no kids or mortgages or poultry. My temptation is to resume writing about what I knew -- youngish singlish people, and their disillusionments and life changes and what have you.

But I'm really, really not that person any more. I'm now much older than the character in the novel I started in 2000, in many ways.

Do I start writing about mothers? How does one even do that? Or do I take an extra imaginative leap and embrace all of mankind, men, even? And hey: what's with all this wackiness one reads about these days? Ought that be my schtick? Only old writers do the realism thing lately. Am I old? Old enough?

What happens when you've aged, but your writing self has not?

I don't even know what I do anymore.


Anonymous said...

What you need to do is the literary equivalent of that little wacky dance you do when you enter a room.

5 Red Pandas said...

One advantage of still being youngish is that at least you can manage to type away. Which I know is not much consolation, but I just saw a sad movie tonight that I thought was one of the more honest portrayals of writing that I have seen in a long time. It's called Starting Out in the Evening. It's based on a novel (naturally) and is about an aging author and the young grad student who wants to do a critical study of his work. It's better than it sounds on paper. Or on blog.

I guess you have to start with some characters that you can't stop thinking about. That's what generally drives me. I was practically haunted by specific characters until I finally put them into stories.

Do you consider yourself someone who starts off with characters, or with ideas?

rmellis said...

JRL: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Pandas: I'm a character person. Now that you put it that way, I see that I'm still thinking about characters I thought up in the previous century -- I guess that's my more specific problem.

Yes, I may be older, but only somewhat! I will have to check that movie out. I think I read the book about twelve years ago, if that's possible.

Anonymous said...

What you express seems related to JR's November 23 post.
You could write a bionovel. (No, please don't).
I'll add a major experience that broadened many writers' perspective: war. Not so much combat, but being thrown together, in an intimate way, with others of every level of society.
Nowadays it's dysfunctional families, love affairs, parents dying; or, since those subjects have been done to death, some writers take another route, into bizarreness.

moonlight ambulette said...

What is the book or story you wish you could read but that doesn't exist yet? That's what! I feel a bit foolish trying to give advice to YOU of course, but that is a question an older and wiser writer once posed to me, and though it sounds so simple, it helps me to remember it when I get peckish.

TIV: the individual voice said...

I just really like that you are both asking all these questions.

TIV: the individual voice said...

Thurs AM: invited you on a post over for a NaNo Runners-Up Party to be celbrated with a one-month extension at the end of December for us stragglers. Short Story Collections acceptable. Actually, anything acceptable as long as the word count works. Honor system.

rmellis said...

Ambulette: I think that is a very excellent idea.

TIV: I might, just might, take you up on it.