One of my biggest problems with my writing patterns, as is the case with a lot of writers, is that I am stuck in my own perspective. Every writer has their style, but oftentimes a writer’s style is just their own POV filtered through a character put in a slightly different position than them. Writers can try to mask this, and indeed I do, notably by trying to write through characters that have values different to mine. In any writing community, this is a common solution to the problem. I hope I don’t come across as mean saying this, but because the online erotica writing community isn’t vetted the same way as, say, a publisher, most writers won’t even think of this as a problem, which is why a lot of the most famous erotica authors will often write virtually the same story over and over with swapped names of characters. Everyone will talk the same way. Everyone, despite coming from different backgrounds or dynamics, will have the same thoughts, goals, motivations… even mannerisms. If everyone frowns or blinks in surprise in response to the same situations, you know you’re dealing with a writer that doesn’t want to bother with actually writing multiple characters – they just want to pretend they’re writing multiple characters.
I don’t want to pretend. If many of my characters are quite similar, that just my own inexperience talking. While writing Final Answer, I resolved that, among other things, I wanted to try writing from the POV of a character that doesn’t overthink. Overthinking protagonists have been a problem for me: Adam from BMS, Aaron from GBM, Quinn from MB, and a host of other characters – Mina, Morgan, and Zoe from various stories come to mind. I’m clearly a huge overthinker. It’s a boon to my writing a lot of the time: it helps me to create intrigue and set up events that pay off way later. It helps me to remember a lot of details from earlier chapters so I can re-integrate them later. And I don’t want to leave this merely implied: narration is so much easier from an overthinker. If you’re writing from someone’s POV, and they think about their surroundings or what someone said, as a writer I can spell things out for my readers without it looking like I’m over-expositing (sometimes).
But I never really wrote a story from someone who underthinks. Even the term “underthinker” is alien to me, whereas “overthinker” seems like a common word. I thought writing from the POV of someone who accepts things and is simplistic in his goals would be hard, but I actually find it kind of freeing. Jason as a character is simple-minded (not to be confused with being two-dimensional or airheaded!) and also, a bit rude, without realizing or caring. It’s fun to write instances of him being rude and not having to acknowledge it. It’s fun to have other characters react to his rudeness, but the narration itself never picks up on it (it happens a few times – did you see it?).
I think I have a bad habit of needing to spell out everything to my readers. If something is rude, I need to point it out. If something said has a hidden meaning, I need to at least outline there’s a hidden meaning there. It’s a bad habit that I need to stop, and hopefully will in time. Final Answer is good practice for doing this, and once I get a few things settled, I will be continuing it as a commission. We’ll see where it goes, but for now, I’m excited. I’ll talk to you all next week.