I spend my creative hours working on the new story ... the one about the man and the frozen pipes and all that.
A lot of note-taking. Getting to know the main character. It would seem that would be easy to do, given that the entire premise is based on my own experience this past winter, and that therefore, by extension, my main character would be yours truly.
However, I am aware, at least subconsciously, that I really don't want this to be about me, just about what I experienced. And even then, that is not enough for a fascinating story (see: one that doesn't get boring).
So, my notes comprise bits of dialogue, bits of scenes both real and imagined, and bits of character. Well. More than bits.
Writing is a searching-out process for me, where I truly endeavor to get to know the people and learn to fall in love with them.
This main character is a version of me. Someone who, at this point anyway, seems to have some of my psychological features, while being devoid of others.
For example, I grew up going to church. My main character did not. My years attending a fundamentalist Christian organization - through my formative years - shaped my attitudes about God, religion, faith, right down to what I like in food and television and music. I have unflattering views of most aspects of religion, yet I envy those who have a faith in something. That seems like a contradiction but it isn't.
Religion (because of my experience) was and still is about dogma, organization, man's punitive application of Biblical precedents. Faith is in the heart and represents his or her internal application of scriptures as it refers to a direct relationship with a higher power.
My main character?
Doesn't give a shit one way or the other.
Neither atheist, agnostic, or believer. He has not been raised in a house where church-going was practiced, or prayers were said before every meal or Christmas was a religious holiday, not a secular one.
I don't know why these things pan out the way they do. It's part of the joy of writing.
I wish I didn't have the baggage. The internal conflict, the unresolved tension that runs like a current between my father and I whenever we see each other. (It's a low, triple-A battery current most of the time. Wouldn't even light a bulb)
No, this guy I'm discovering doesn't have that in his wiring. He IS similar to me in other areas, though, the frozen pipes and shit-for-a-car notwithstanding.
He's rarely taken seriously, a fault of his own. But a real sticking point for him.
He failed once in a marriage that he should not have entered into, but after he did, managed to fuck it up.
He's unskilled, unmotivated, and unlucky, the three worst things to be if you want to be a successful writer. And each of them is a direct result of the way he was not taken seriously while growing up.
The list is longer than that, but those are the big ones.
I don't know where he's taking me, to be honest. What his 'story' is, if there is one. I don't even know yet if he's a strong enough character to hold the line of a story.
All I have is a broken bathroom pipe in February and a man with a lot of bad luck, no discernible technical skills, but one big dream.