Due to the fact that The Road Out is nearing completion, I have found myself requiring a new outlet for my creative urges.
The long, slow process of editing does not demand much from the author in the way of creativity, it is purely a mechanical task. Indeed, I have found that if I open up the creative side while engaged in editing, there emerges the very real risk of endless re-writes; leading down the treacherous path toward non-completion, something that I am determined to avoid.
Thus it is that I have started to pull together the bare bones of a new project.
Something as long and arduous as writing a ten book saga will take a sizable amount of time to complete, and I have settled on writing just one of those books a year.
I am a prodigious writer; it consumes me whenever I sit down and I recognize that sticking to just the one project for ten books would open me to becoming linear, monotone and formulaic.
The new project, which is to be called Black, came to me while driving, as usual.
It is to be more towards the line of a psychological thriller, with a plot trailing into the distance from an opening scene that has engaged me from the get go.
The short synopsis is half done and is waiting for the character chart to be completed for the two main protagonists.
The hero is still a whisper on the wind at the moment, but the villain has revealed himself in some detail.
His motivation is the current focus, and that got me wondering about something; a reflection on the world at large, as it were.
Reasons to hate the world as it is and want to destroy the current structure are bountiful.
There’s the usual suspects; politics, religion, racism, vendettas and wars of the past, all intertwined in a twisted ball of evil from which a villain can draw his motivation for his dastardly deed and work his master plan towards fruition.
This intertwining is causing an interesting development in the art of story telling, though.
As the world continues on in its way, the source of a villain’s motives are growing, but the heroes ideals are becoming ever more elusive.
In times gone by, the hero had clear and pure motives. Indeed, down through history, the good guys were whiter than white and the black the bad guys wore suited them very well.
From the days of Britain’s “Glorious Empire”, the hero would fight for king and country, the evildoer usually a rebel in some far away mysterious land. Everything they did was to fulfill evil ends and when their plans were thwarted with seconds to spare, the good guy would get the girl, the bad guy would fall on his sword and everyone was happy.
When the power paradigm shifted to the United States, the hero fought for the ideals of democracy; truth, freedom and the American way.
The patriotism was outlandish and surreal, at least to me when I was growing up.
An early interest in history and the revelations of the fifty year rule as it passed across the events of the second world war saw the scales fall from my eyes as a young man in his early twenties.
It was a generational thing, though, I was nothing special in that regard.
The Sixties brought rebellion and awareness to a whole generation, ushering in a raft of changes that engaged the establishment in a war to protect its best interests that is still raging today.
So, here we are now, with the heroes of the past trying to hide the copious blood on their hands, the edifices of so-called “Good” too busy securing their ill-gotten gains to even bother hiding the blood on theirs and we as writers are left searching frantically for a way to weave our heroes a believable platform from which they may justify their derring-do.
I guess this is why my hero is still but a zephyr at the moment, whereas my villain is all too real.
We are left with the choice of making our heroes motives very close to home; family to protect, local town to save or even just staying alive in a hostile world, or, have him supporting the crumbling edifices of justifications past and compromising our own basic honesty.
I think I’m going to have to leave the compromise side of things to the generation preceding mine, they have a knack for painting elephants in the room to the point of invisibility whereas I am from the generation that can not only see the elephant, but will be alive long enough to find its presence more than just a little uncomfortable.