We Really Are an Odd Bunch, Aren’t We

I had to laugh the other day after letting someone close to me read a short story I wrote for an upcoming competition. It’s a little on the dark side and apparently open to various interpretations.  Shocked the heck out of me.  It seems that each person who read it had a different idea about the story.  Some thought it was a male character running from the law, which is what I had in mind, while others felt like the character was a woman on the verge of losing her mind.  It’s a short, short story with a twist told in first person and the gender is kept hidden.   After thinking longer about this, I realized my writer friends were the ones who got really creative with it.  It was my reader friends whose ideas pretty much followed my own.  After talking about this with a non-writer friend, she said, “You’re all crazy!”  (It was meant in the nicest way, I assure you.) LOL

I guess if we are honest with ourselves, there is some truth in her statement.  At least for me.  I don’t think my brain is wired like a non-writer.  The creative part is always plotting, watching, waiting, absorbing everything that comes across my path.  And then there are those voices in my head that are always demanding attention.   Sometimes I wish I could turn it off and just enjoy life as it is without asking that “what if” question.   Even an innocent visit to the grocery store can have me wondering what the customer in front of me is doing buying all those batteries, matches and diapers for.  Hmmm….I must give this some more thought as soon as I finish this blog. 🙂

I came across an article a while back about different writer types that took me by surprise.  Someone has tried to put us into categories?  Really?  And here I thought we writer types were all the same.  Basically.  We just love to create characters and stories, right?  It’s about the thrill of the chase, so to speak, with the prize being “the end.”

Apparently, how we go about getting those ideas down makes us different.  I found this article in “The Writer” magazine by Jill Dearman very interesting, but couldn’t quite put myself solely in one category over another.  I’m a mixture of them all I guess and it just depends on how I feel that day when my feet hit the floor.  Not sure what that makes me exactly. 🙂

Here they are and a brief summary of my take on them.

The Dictator – Knows what they want and how to get there.  But fails to see that their original version might not have what it takes to make it in the sea of books already floating around out there.  More depth you say? Too much internal dialogue? Why? I like it just the way it is.

The Distractionist – Quick on their feet, with no shortage of ideas.  But focusing on one idea and seeing it to the end is a major chore.  Especially with all the stuff life throws at them.  This might be the writer with a drawer full of great starts, but very few middle or ends.  Always slipping out of their writing mode to tackle the laundry, sweep the floor for the third time, or walk the dog because they look like they’ve put on a few pounds.

The Perfectionist – Organized to the tee.  Hooks readers from the first sentence and has them dying to know more.  But a bit on the obsessive – compulsive side and can’t seem to move on to that the next chapter.  There just has to be a better word, or better way to describe the scene they’ve been working on for months.  There just has to be.

The Commitment-phobe – Struggles to make up their mind which story to work on first.  Then once they finally get focused and moving forward on one, they worry if they’ve made a drastic mistake.  Will someone else have the same idea on one of those other manuscripts and bet them to the punch?

If I had to choose one of these, I guess it would be the Distractionist.  It doesn’t take much to distract me.  And I do have several manuscripts started that I intend to go back to someday.  I just need to get this new idea that popped up yesterday out of the way first. LOL

What about you? Can you relate to one of these types?  If so, how do you get around it and make progress?

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8 Responses

  1. After reading this blog, (I was fortunate enough to read the story Melissa is referring to), and going down the list, I’ve concluded I am a DisDicPerCom. (laughing)

    Every single point, I could identify with. Maybe it’s a rotational kind of thing (Monday, Dictator, Wednesday, Commitment Phobe, etc.) but I don’t think it’s that scheduled…:)

  2. As I read each type of writer, I could see a LITTLE bit of the description in me, but only, like, the first sentence. LOL I know what I want, and as I write the book I know how to get there (never in advance, really), but I’m very eager for feedback and critique. I have a ton of projects to work on, but no problem finishing one before moving on to the next. I’m very organized, but NOT a perfectionist in any way.

    I have to come up with a word for it, but I think the category I fit into best is the one for authors who put all their other work and obligations first, and struggle to get to the writing part because of it.

  3. fun post, Melissa and how neat about your short story.

    Hmm. I guess I’ll identify the most with the distractionist.

    • Thanks, Keri! I just assumed everyone would know exactly where I was going with it. Kind of cool, that it sparked each reader’s imagination like it did. I’m happy with that. LOL

  4. Hmm…we are crazy.

    I’m probably more the dictator. I’m not sure. I usually feel good about my story and know how I want it to go. Then I’m always surprised when people find things wrong with it. Why can’t she be mad? Why can’t he inherit the money? What marketability problems? LOL

    But I get the others too.

    Fun post, Mel.

    • Hey, Liz! But it’s a good crazy! LOL I have a secret dictator side. The internal dialogue going on after I read over a critique is quite funny. That is, after I sit and stew about it for awhile. 🙂

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