Authors get this question all the time. Well, so I hear. I’m an author, of GLBT novels and stories, so just in case anyone ever asks me that, I’m ready. I discovered with my first novel precisely where the ideas originate.
My own experience? Or perhaps my fertile imagination? Those were what I thought at first, writing as I did a novel taken from stories an 11 year old friend and a 12 year old me wrote and turning them into a novel. (I decided when I was much – much — older that since I had had sex now, I could write about it.) It appeared to me that since the characters were good friends from pre-teenhood, I was writing through at least their experience and my imagination.
By the time the 600+ page tome was in print I began to realize something, pretty much a spiritual vision, you could say, about just how that process came about – both times – that only providentially had anything to do with my experience or even my imagination. I am here today, sisters and brothers, to share with you what I discovered.
You have heard of dimensions. We talk about the three dimensions, this way, that way and up or down. I seem to remember someone talking about a few more, of time and min. I don’t know about those, but I do know about the one that is the source of fiction. I don’t know what it’s called, but does that really matter? Labels, labels, labels. We don’t need no stinkin’ labels.
The dimension I speak of is where characters live. They wait around from time immemorial for their author first to come into existence and then to get on the stick and draw them out into our own world. Sad to say most characters are still in their dimension, waiting perhaps for the whole cycle to restart so they get another stab at an author.
Their recompense for all this waiting is that they get to stay once liberated from their Giant Waiting Room in the Ether. Once an author frees them from Obscurity, they live as long as there are readers, or at least listeners and viewers. The author shuffles of this mortal coil, but the characters and their stories are forever. Or for a freakin’ good long time anyway.
I am surprised I did not realize this at first. You see, the very reason I wrote my first novel at 56 is that I had revisited what my friend and I had called “The Story”. Since the so-called friend had zero interest – zip – goose eggs – nada – in returning to the story, about which I learned she had never told a single soul – horrors – I’d better write them up and publish them as a novel or they would go the way of all flesh, including brain cells when said flesh was no more. I fooled myself into thinking that I was the intelligence behind that decision. Nuh-uh.
I mean, think about it. Which is stronger: protective instincts or self-preservation? These characters had once used my adolescent smash on my friend to get a toe in the literary door, only to see that they would slip back out through the same door. They had tasted liberty, so they had more incentive to clamor for another chance and most characters do. They found another way to get me, their predestined author, to start writing them again. And it was then that realized my greater age this time meant they got to have sex.
I had one more reason to have figured this out. Sometime through the writing of that novel I realized I was at a dead end with the plot. It occurred to me to ask the characters what should transpire. They helped wonderfully, at least until the conversation, a sort of panel discussion, inevitably deteriorated into a fist fight between the two rivals for the heart of the lady fair.
This crowd was lucky. They grabbed my attention before I realized I was gay. So the flagrant heterosexuality slipped in before I switched to nothing but gay fiction. Ironically my second book was written when I still thought I was a straight female. As such I wrote about a woman who felt more like a man, wanted to don a knight’s armor and live as a man. Oh. I see. She’s me. So now I know I am a gay man, transgender. It seems like my characters have been writing me as much or more than I have been writing them.
I guess I must be doing justice by them, since they never act smug about my temporariness. And I am grateful to realize that whatever crumbled pile of ashes I become they will always be here in the minds and, in the case of fan fiction, will continue to live as long as there are humans – or maybe uplifted cats and dogs – to read and write about them.
In other words, I don’t get ideas — they got me.
Christopher Hawthorne Moss lives with his husband and their godlike cats in the Pacific Northwest. His books are:
Loving the Goddess Within, under the name Nan Hawthorne, 1991 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/135121
An Involuntary King, the novel aforementioned, under that same author name, 2008, http://www.amazon.com/An-Involuntary-King-England-ebook/dp/B0029U0X5G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381790545&sr=1-1&keywords=an+involuntary+king You can find his pre-teen stories at An Involuntary King: The Stories http://aninvoluntaryking.blogspot.com
Beloved Pilgrim, formerly under the name Nan Hawthorne but soon to be released as a transgender historical novel by Christopher Hawthorne Moss, 2011 and 2014 Harmony Ink Press TBA
Where my Love Lies Dreaming, by Christopher Hawthorne Moss published in July 2013 by Dreamspinner Press. Frankie and Johnny are thrilled to be finalists in the 2013 Rainbow Books awards. http://www.amazon.com/Where-My-Love-Lies-Dreaming-ebook/dp/B00E99LCMI
He reviews one book after another for That’s All I Read http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com and is an editor/reviewer for GLBT Bookshelf www.glbtbookshelf.com . You can find a few short stories of his about, including in the anthology Closet Capers, 2013