I read a book once, giving advice on how to write a good detective story. The theme wasn’t really applicable to me at that stage, being more in a fantasy mood, but the advice the author gave stayed with me long after the author’s name disappeared from my mind.
He said that: Writing a book is like inviting people along on a cruise ship with you. Your first step is getting them onto the boat and making sure that they are still with you when you leave port. You must then take your passengers (readers) on a magnificent journey, showing them wonderful sights that they have never seen before, each experience leaving them begging for more. When they are happy and content and settled into your cruise, you have to take your boat and sink it.
A friend of mine wrote about The Quest for Emotionally Complex Moments, a topic which made me remember this piece of advice. I came to realize that this image of a boat, this idea of telling a story, giving the readers everything that they desire and then sinking the ship, was an approach that I loved to use. I loved the yank the proverbial pond out from underneath the duck. I believe that’s why I can’t really write comedy, why inevitably, angst, drama and desperation, find their way into my work. The fear, the terror and the surprise of a sinking ship is where I get my thrill. The key to this is emotion. Emotion is what drives the ship, what fuels your creativity and what plants the seeds of creativity. Emotion is an untameable force, begging for an outlet and whether it finds its outlet in music, books or movies, you know that if enough emotion is channelled into your story, you will get an explosive, anguish filled, breakingly beautiful journey.
One of my readers from The Touch of Green Fire once said (upon completion of the story):
I don’t know what to say, this story was just incredible, i swear to you that
In this review, summarized (and justified) more than a decade of my writing and the reason why I write.
In writing, I capture a bits of my life, bits of my emotion, bits of the world. The cruise, the travel of the plot, isn’t just an exploration of my character’s lives and their circumstances but also of mine. Their emotions are bits of mine, chiselled and worked in such a way that I can deal with it myself. Their questions are mine, the answers they receive ones that I have discovered through them, and through life sometimes.
The reason for this is because the author of the ‘How to’ book provided me with another piece of advice: When you have left your passengers to flounder around in the water, with no hope of being saved, throw them a life jacket and pull them aboard another vessel. You will have their gratitude, and loyalty forever.
For all the anguish in my stories, all the dark and desperate pain, there is also hope. And absolution, and answers if not the ones that you always want.
Because my friends, that is what I try to capture in my work, through emotion:
Hope. And Life. And inevitably, Love.