Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bits Of Some Dude

For as long as I can remember, I've written with a crush in mind. Meaningless, probably ridiculous crushes have literally pushed me into everything I've ever written, from the stupid vampire novel I wrote at age thirteen (based on Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries) to the zombie apocalypse novel I had accepted just a couple of weeks ago.

Yeah, that's right. Everything I've ever published? Has been germinated by a crush. I see some dude. He's probably not even all that, to most normal people. I go into raptures. I write something starring someone who looks quite like him in a haze of probable delirium. And then sometimes, that thing is published.

Which is crazy, right? Or at least, I thought so until I looked around the Eroticaville and Romancelandia, and realised...loads of people do it. Loads! Completely normal, famous, amazeballs writers do it all the time, and they don't seem to think it's all that weird. Some of them even thank these man-crushes in their acknowledgements, and you know what?

I want to, too. I wouldn't have written my zombie book without the electric influence of Sharlto Copley. That's a fact. I watched The A-Team movie because my eyecandy inspirations so very, very rarely come from highbrow, intelligent, discussion worthy movies, and I saw this guy who looked like Luke Wilson but talked like an utter maniac teasing the hell out of another guy, with all of his gesturing and his eyes like spark plugs and suddenly I could just see him tearing up the stairs with a woman trailing after him, saying c'mon c'mon c'mon.

It's like all these movies that don't actually exist are alive inside my head, and they're just waiting for people to step into the lead roles. They're waiting for me to find someone who sparks a certain way, then layer that person's insides with all the other bits and pieces I know the role requires.

Maybe I see some guy in some film running with his fists tightly clenched, and my mind busily knits backwards, it fills in the gaps. He's been chased his whole life the knitting says, the movie says, the role says. He never gets a rest and sometimes, sometimes he's sure they'll catch him. He has to be ready at all times, for when they catch him.

Or possibly some guy in some TV show will lean in just a fraction, towards some girl's hair. It's nothing really onscreen and I'm sure it didn't register to half the program's fans, or even the makers of the program, but inside my mind knits and the new movie burning through me says: that's the most contact he's had with a woman, and Lord how he wants it to be more.

And all the while this passion inside me burns higher and higher, for the Frankenstein's monster I've cobbled together out of bits of him and parts of that. He's unwieldy and half-crazed and I can no longer control him by this point. He careens through whatever I'm writing like a man possessed, and I follow on behind, just trying to keep up.

Oh yes. That's the best kind of writing, to me.


  1. Yes! That's how I do it, too. And I gather photos of them. I put it in a file labeled INSPIRATION. And when I get stuck on what would this character do/say/think, I pull up a picture and it speaks to me.

    Not crazy at all.

  2. Hi Charlotte,

    I like the idea of you as a director waiting to find the perfect male lead. It seems to be the way the Cohen Brothers do it and it works for them.

  3. Samantha- hooray! That's exactly what I do! I've got loads of folders of inspiration, even quite weird things like how a certain guy looks when he's frowning or has his hair side-parted. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Mike- hee hee! Mebbe a bit more Uwe Boll than the Cohen brothers- but either way, that's exactly it! I am making a film in my head, and some dude has to be in it!

  4. What a great description of your writing method, Charlotte! It's not like that for me at all, but all I can say is if it works for you, do it!

    And I can't wait to read your zombie apocalypse story. I can't imagine anyone more suited to writing on the topic....!


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