Isn’t fiction just that, fiction…a playground where the mind can wander unbounded by reality? Well, perhaps so for those fortunate authors not burdened by a dominating left brain.
After forty years in business where imprecision and creative latitude were not the most admired or rewarded traits, learning to ‘let go’ and write fiction has been a challenge. At first I eagerly rebelled against my history of creative confinement. I thought it was great… no analysts Googling Wikipedia to discover that Acme Corporation had divested its widget division in 2003, not 2004 or accountants making sure that the numbers added up.
I soon reached a conclusion and knew that I must answer a question.
The conclusion: Try as I might to be otherwise, I am a left-brain type of guy. Vampires, voyages into black holes and time travel back to the Bronze Age ain’t my thing.
The question: How could I utilize my decidedly analytical inclinations to write fiction?
The answer is that it’s still work-in-progress, but here are a few things that I have learned that might be helpful to other overly-logical novelists.
- Follow the universal axiom…write about things that you know something about. There’s a certain sense of security when your overall plot is based in a reality with which you are familiar.
- Step out of your comfort zone…create scenes at locations you’ve never visited or flesh out a character unlike anyone you’ve ever met.
- Accept that plausibility is a good thing; in fact, it’s necessary. Insure that everything ‘makes sense’ within the context of your plot. Here, the good old left brain is your best friend.
- Satisfy your craving for accuracy with detailed research about things and places. Does the Glock have a nine- or fifteen-round magazine? What’s the weather like in London in October? How long is the flight from Miami to Caracas?
- Develop detailed resumes for your main characters. Use your left brain for their education, work experience and the skills/knowledge needed to fulfill their roles in the plot. And then allow the right brain to develop their personalities, physical appearance and idiosyncrasies.
For those like me who have struggled with left brain dominance there is hope. I just finished a short story where the main character encounters the devil on an airliner.