Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cerebral Play Doh

Somewhere back in time, I started reading fiction.  Oh, now before you think me a complete escapist, I also make a conscious effort to read other stuff.  I like history.  In fact, I once bought what can only be described as a history textbook on US history and read it cover to cover.  I've read a number of books on the US Civil War.  I also read spiritual enrichment books to build my knowledge of scripture and spiritual issues (favorite authors being Max Lucado and Philip Yancey).  But, I have to say that my first love is truly fiction.  Some people like to play golf.  Others like to hunt.  I like to read a great adventure story.

Okay, so I’m a bit of an escapist.  Confession is good for the soul.  (I think I read that in a spiritual enrichment book somewhere.)


Here’s the thing, a great story will take you away.  It will take you to crazy, wild, and mind-blowing places both in this world and beyond.  It will scare you.  It will romance you.  It will give you courage.  I particularly love to GO on vacation, and then read a book that carries me even further away for a while.  An escape upon an escape.  Does it get better than that?

My favorite stories have a fantastical edge.  Something beyond our natural world.  I don’t prefer the language to get too graphic and I don’t want it to be overly sexualized, but I do like it to stretch the boundaries of the rational and the reasonable.  I think that’s why I like Dean Koontz so much.  He uses rough language very sparingly and doesn’t overdo the sexuality, but he will take you over the edge in a fantastic way.

A good piece of fiction is like a roller coaster.  There’s the slow climb up the first hill (not so long that you lose the anticipation), then the plunges, the curves, the dips, the peaks, and then finally the last big hook before you coast in and catch your breath.  Ahhhhhhh!

It’s just plain fun….and, I think we all need some fun once in a while.  Wouldn’t you agree?

My love affair with adventure started in earnest with a Dean Koontz novel called Twilight Eyes.  Oh boy, did that story grab me!  After that, I’ve not gone very long without a good read.  I’ve just about always got one going or one in the wings.  Sometimes two or three.

Eventually, I started playing around with my own stories.  At first, it was just a mental game.  I’d create a scenario and kind of build it up…play with the angles…see what I could do with characters.  I was doing a little mental manipulation of some cerebral Play Doh. 

Sooner or later, it had to come out.

That’s when I started writing short stories.  My first was “Hate to Wait.”  You can find a link to it under the Short Stories tab at the top of this page.  Anyway, this story was based on a freaky dream I had at a hotel.  I had fallen asleep on the hotel room bed and in my dream, I imagined that someone was coming into the room and I was unable to move or make a sound in response.  After I actually awoke…and calmed down…I began the mental manipulation process that resulted in that short story.

Over time, I’ve written several shorts, some of which I’ve posted on this blog page.  Again, you can find the links on the tab above.  Others, I’ve kept in reserve.  Maybe I’ll post them eventually.  Probably my favorites are the last two I’ve done:  Under the Crimson Shade and Out of the Depths of Abandon.  I just love those stories!  Whether you think they are well written or not, I had a blast creating them.  They may never be officially published (although I would love that, so if you have any contacts, let me know), but I love creating them and then sharing them with people who appreciate the stories.

Creating a story is DOUBLE the fun of simply reading a story.  When you read someone else’s story, you are just a passenger on their roller coaster.  When YOU are creating the story, then you are building a new roller coaster that NO ONE has ever ridden on before, and you get to be the very first rider!

Some authors will plan out a story well in advance with detailed outlines and character profiles.  For me, it is much more fun to just let the story unfold itself in my imagination as I type the letters on the screen.  I might form some cerebral Play Doh, but mostly I just enjoy the ride that is inherent in the creative process.

So, there.  You know something new about me.  I hope you like short stories and try out my personal mental manipulations.  I plan to keep creating them as they are revealed to my imagination.

Good reading my friends.


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