I haven't done much writing in the last couple months. There's been a lot going on in my personal life, the latest of which -> the husband and I are trying to sell the witch's hut. If we move before mid-June, that will make it 9 moves in 9 years.
I'm awful at multi-tasking, so I'm not the kind of person who can put down a couple hundred words every day. When I write, it's in an obsessive streak that takes over every speck of my brain-power and prevents me from concentrating on anything else. When I stop, I stop. Often in the middle of a scene, sometimes mid-way through a paragraph. But there are often times I write 15-30,000 words within a 2 week writing-spree.
But when I'm not writing, my brain kindof stews and simmers and churns all the half-processed ideas floating around in there.
I stopped working on 'Brake Fluid, Blood & Body Bags' (Project # 4) back in December. One reason was 'cause I needed a mental break from death. Another reason was I couldn't justify writing a nameless genderless character without a better reason than, 'it's fun and interesting.' I knew there was a reason why this character was the way he/she was. It wasn't a gimmick, it wasn't just for a challenge. There's always a why behind what I write, it's just that (as a pantser) often it takes me a while to figure it out.
And I think I finally have.
It's not a statement of gender roles/etc. It's not about being asexual, gay or transgendered.
I don't have any interest in imparting moral lessons or inserting my personal views into a story. If you know me at all, I don't like talking politics or religion 'cause mostly all those subjects do is divide people and get them angry. Sure, I'll rant (in person) to friends and family about things that annoy me, but that sort of thing has no place in my writing.
In fact, even though I have figured out the why behind this character, I don't even think it's my place to define it in concrete terms. Yes, as I finish and edit the story I'm going to work hard to drop clues/etc, but in the end, I'd rather the reader chose for themselves why, just like I'd rather they decided on their own what gender the main character is.
Because at the heart of it, the gender doesn't matter. Either way, it wouldn't change his/her relationship with Triss.
I know a lot of YA writers enjoy the genre 'cause it's all about 'firsts'. First loves, first kisses, first adventures on the cusp of adulthood and responsibility.
But what interests me more than all the 'firsts' is the deep struggle of self-identity.
It's the transition from the removed third-person-narration of childhood, where you follow along on the adventure, usually without the whys ever being fully explained, to the almost suffocating tunnel-vision of self-absorption that is first-person perspective, before finally growing up enough to have the wider/big-picture third-person perspective of understanding more than just the main character's struggle.
There's a reason MG, YA and adult fiction have such distinct *voices*.
Out of any other story I've written, this has the most stubborn main character when it comes to the struggle of self-identity. This character tries to avoid almost all thoughts of past (before Triss) or future (without Triss).
If you asked me to, I could define every character I've ever written in a single word. For example, Simon (from project #2) would be 'loyalty' and Hector would be 'noble'. These are the qualities I wanted to explore, both the good and bad sides of each.
In this particular story, 'avoidance' is the word that most completely describes the main character.
Which perhaps is why I am avoiding setting down any concrete details/explanations.
...does that sound... pretentious?
I don't mean it to.
Honestly, none of this matters beyond my own writing process. As long as the reader enjoys the story, I don't care if they skim-read the entire thing and never realize that the main character is never named or has a clearly defined gender.
Writing an enjoyable/interesting story is what I most care about.
I'm just incredibly analytical. A perfectionist. And for me, that means understanding the characters to the point when I won't ever betray them. Where I can stay true to the *truth* of these characters. I have to figure out how they work so I can take them apart and put them back together again.
I'm interested in the why behind it all. And now that I know the why of this character, I'm ready to work on this story again. On Friday I'm going to post the edited first scene of this story. Where my first draft of this quite obviously shows my lack of focus/understanding of the main character, I hope I have honed the wording enough to clarify why the main character behaves/thinks the way he/she does.
I also hope that, morally-bankrupt as these characters are, you can at least empathize with them enough to care what happens.
I'm very curious to hear your thoughts. Any/all comments are appreciated, especially ones that are critical/constructive in nature.
Nail me on anything, big or small :)