Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Personal Flaw that's a Writing Strength

Even as a little kid, I was a worrier.

It's something I've never outgrown.

I immediately imagine the WORST possible thing that could happen in any given situation.

Like if the phone rings after a certain hour (or before a certain hour)  a normal person might think, "Hmmmph. I wonder who's calling" or "Gosh, I hope everything's okay."  or even, "Uh oh, that can't be good."

No, I immediately think, "Oh shit, something horrible's happened. Someone's dead or dying. I've got to go to them. I've got to find my keys. I'm not sure there's enough gas in my car. What if I get lost?"

And that's all BEFORE I answer the stupid phone.

(By the way -- usually it's a drunken idiot who's called the wrong number, which means my worrying and subsequent panic was for nothing.)

Trust me, I've tried to break myself of my automatic Doom & Gloom tendencies, but most of the time I fail.

And yet, this very trait serves me well with my writing. People always ask, "How do you come up with the crazy stuff that happens to Maggie?" 

I just let my worries run rampant.

So if Maggie enters an empty building, I think:

--And the electricity is off

-- A rat runs over her foot in the darkness

-- No wait, a rat taunts her from the darkness

-- But the rat isn't her biggest problem. The real problem is the mad scientist who has a generator-run lab in the basement who is doing some weird DNA cloning thing to try to pass on a chameleon's ability to change it's appearance...something a rogue nation would really like to get its hands on and weaponize, so the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

-- But wait, the mad scientist is about to experiment on Maggie's beloved dog

-- And what if the only way to save the dog is to inject herself with the serum.

Poor Maggie.

Tell me Killer Friends: What flaws do you see in people or characters that are also strengths?

Make sure to stop by next week when I've got an exciting announcement to make!! (No worries about that, lol)


B.E. Sanderson said...

Yep yep yep. That's pretty much me, except you're way more advanced a worrier than I am. And you need to get caller ID, so you can relax once you see it's an unknown number. That's helped loads with the odd phone calls at weird times.

My secret flaw turned writerly superpower is that I'm a little bit of a conspiracy theorist. (Quit laughing. There are WAY worse conspiracy theorists than I.) Any news report of an accidental death turns into a well-planned murder. Any weird news of government intervention makes me wonder what's on their agenda and whether it's going to visit my home. And what it will do to the world 100 years from now.

Karyn Good said...

My sister and I were just chatting this morning about being obsessive worriers so I hear you on the worrying front. I'm very stubborn. Which is sometimes a flaw and sometimes a blessing. And often annoying. For others. Not me. When I think about it I can see some of my characters, particularly my heroines, are also stubborn. And how it's also a flaw and sometimes a strength to them as well. Can't wait to hear about your announcement.