What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see all the wrinkles and broken capillaries in your face or do you, like me, see an unflawed version of you created in your mind to protect your ego? In looking at photographs of myself, I’m reminded of the dark puffy circles under my eyes and extra flab dangling from my neck. LOL. Tear those photographs up.
When my son was a young boy, his favorite toy was a hook and ladder firetruck. Oddly, he told everyone his truck was green. This went on for so long, we began to wonder if he might be color-blind. Then, one day, tired of being asked about the color of his firetruck, he exclaimed, “It’s green because I want it to be green!”
And that, my friends, is the beauty of fiction. Your fictional world can be anything you want it to be. Like an artist with a blank canvas, you can open up a new document on your computer—or for those old-fashioned folks, get out a new legal pad—and let those creative juices flow. Don’t hold back. There will be plenty of time for editing later in subsequent drafts.
A passionate person, I’m often overwhelmed by the real world. Escaping to my land of fiction for a few hours every day keeps me sane. Also, and you may have heard me say this before, while I’ve called Virginia home for the past twenty-two years, I still miss life in the Lowcountry where I grew up. Hence, the reason I set my novels in South Carolina. Every time I plant myself in front of my computer, I venture back to my childhood days.
Always keep your readers at the forefront of your mind. Don’t insult their intelligence by suggesting your fire trucks are green unless you’re writing in a genre where green firetrucks are acceptable like fantasy or science fiction. Explore your new worlds as you would a foreign city you’ve never visited, and approach your blank canvas with an open mind to fresh ideas.
Next time you look in the mirror, ask yourself what it is you really see and what it is you really want to be?