Have you ever had an internet Toblerone happening, and one of the eighty kabillion tabs starts making noise? Because there are too many tabs open, you can’t see which one it is, so you either have to stop listening to music and silence the whole thing, or you get to play a rousing game of ‘wtf is making that godawful noise???’
That’s my brain.
I lie when people ask me what I’m thinking, because it’s easier than rattling off the list of what my brain is flitting between at any given time.
I can tell you that my brain is actively working to figure out what it’s going to feel like when the internal stitches in my arm are removed. It’s kinda grossing me out, truth be told.
I can tell you that my protag Ali is going to kill again, and soon, even though she hates what she’s turning into.
I can tell you there’s a conga line of chores I can’t do because I keep pulling my stitches and the doctor is getting really, really cross. It’s far more distracting than anticipated.
I can tell you that Hela, another protag, has stumbled in her journey. She doesn’t know how to tell the story, how to answer the questions. I can tell you that Odin was never meant to be in this story, but has begun striding into view, demanding his story be told. And Loki? Though this story is so much about him, he’s vanished. Again. Which, as angry as I get about it, is kinda the point of him.
I can tell you that it doesn’t end well for a character I adore, named for a university crush. I can see the start of his journey, and its end, and even before I’ve written a word of his final moments I’ve been a tear stained, grossly sobbing wreck.
There’s a stable of reasons people give about why they write, and many are so flowery your sinuses will flare up. The muse calls; I must obey gets a hell of a workout. But lemme tell you the truth as it exists for me:
I write because I dream too vividly, and because the stories grate on my nerves until I get them out of my head. Seriously. It’s the worst kind of brain itch. If I don’t get them out, they’ll linger on, festering the grey matter and interrupting other thoughts. Think hyper toddler levels of distraction. I’ve lost my train of thought mid-speech, because I’d been ignoring a story for weeks and it popped back into my head. My imaginings don’t play fair. It’s mostly a case of submit, or be forced to apologise regularly for spacing out on events, assignments, and other things a good, grown up type person should be on top of.
I write in different genres, but my favourite (in case you hadn’t noticed) is crime. If you’ve ever heard crime writers talk about what drew them in, it’s generally the same few polite answers given. It’s all about the drive to understand the incomprehensible, the lure of good triumphant over evil and the restoration of order. And yes, that’s true for me, too, to an extent. But really?
I write crime because people are assholes.
It’s damn satisfying to kill assholes off in fiction. The workmate who tried to stab you in the back on their way up the ladder? It’s fun to tune out their tedious BS and reminisce about the death scene they inspired. That boyfriend who cheated on me with my bestie? Oh, honey, that was a glorious scene to write.
In real life, the assholes don’t always have to pay for their actions. Hell, they’re often rewarded for them. It’s nice to even the score, even if it’s only in fiction. It’s impolite to say it, granted, because we like to think we memorialise only the best people in our fiction. But I love writing crime because I can memorialise the worst people, too, no matter how petty their wander through my life actually was. It just amuses the hell out of me that their fictional cameo invariably ends with body bags. #NotAPsychopath #AlmostSureOfIt
Everyone has that dark side to them. We all have those moments of blind rage and protectiveness, but we’re taught from an early age to pretend we don’t.
I don’t like being wary of parts of my personality. That dark side? It’s valuable. It’s useful. It’s fun.
Don’t believe me?
When I was a teenager, I was volunteering in a charity store in an area slammed with robberies. My boss had gone to lunch, so I was alone when a man walked into the shop, and leaned on the old glass counter. His eyes flicked over to the jar of kitchen knives behind me, and he smiled politely as he asked me what I’d do if he reached over and grabbed one. He could do it, too.
I told him I’d laugh my ass off because he was stupid enough to leave me with that many knives, and reminded him that I knew which ones didn’t need sharpening. He left pretty quickly. Two days later, when I found out he’d been the one robbing other stores, I promptly threw up in the kitchen sink. So brave, me.
I’d been having the week from hell, and at any other time, I’d have frozen in fear. Instead, I was sarcastic, hateful, and just crazy enough to look willing to grab a knife and give a Xena warcry, or whatever the hell he thought I’d do.
The dark side doesn’t just have cookies, it also comes with kick ass quips in dangerous situations. It’s a fun world to play in, and cheaper than therapy.
Besides, as wonderful a super villain as I’d clearly make, the hours involved really don’t work for me.