Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hidden Agendas - Simon Wood - Biggest Aha Moments in Writing

A few years back, I was on a panel and an audience member asked what kind of writers we were. Struggling was the first thing that sprung to my mind, but that wasn’t the answer the questioner was looking for. I never felt that I had an agenda or a platform to perch my work upon. It was a really good question and it got me thinking.

I see themes in other writers’ work, but what about me. What can o’ worms get opened up every time I write a tale. When I examine my stories, I do see a common theme running through them all. Predicaments seem to play a central role in my stories. Usually an unsuspecting person, an average Joe by every definition, is put on the spot. A situation arises that my protagonist can’t walk away. The reason they are there is usually their own fault. Sometimes it falls into the no good deed variety, but usually, the story’s hero has done something to get them ensnared. A tryst. An indiscretion. A little white with a black edge. A past mistake. These factors are subject to Newtonian psychics. For every action, there’s an equal and opposition reaction. It doesn’t matter how minor the mistake my characters have committed, there’s a price to be paid. Things come back to trip my protagonists up. This means my heroes are starting off on the back foot. They are struggling with desperate times where failure means the destruction of their comfortable way of life. So my stories are told from a nightmarish stance. My protagonists are desperate when the reader meets them.

Where do these characters come from? Why have I chosen storylines like this? I think it’s because I can identify with these people. I live a pretty ordinary life, but I can see how fine a line I walk. One bad decision and my life could change forever. There have been several instances in my life where something I’ve done has come back to bite me (and I may share one or two of these over the month). Some very innocuous actions have caused some of these instances. I also grew up with a number of people who bit off more than they could chew and it really cost them. So when my what-if synapses kick in, it usually centers on a minor action that will snowball into something large.

So I have a method to my madness and I like it, because life has a funny way of turning mean when you cross a line. Just ask Anthony Wiener and a thousand other people who thought nothing could ever come back to haunt them.

     BIO: Simon Wood is a California transplant from England who’s been a competitive race car driver, is a licensed pilot, and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his wife, Julie, and their longhaired dachshund and five cats. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines anthologies, such as Seattle Noir, Thriller 2 and Woman’s World. He’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. He’s the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper and We All Fall Down. As Simon Janus, he’s the author of The Scrubs and Road Rash. His latest novel, No Show, is out now. To learn more about Simon, visit his website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read and write stories about the Little Decision That Has a Big Explosion Later, too. It's always fascinated me how my clients (criminals all) always chose the thing that would (badly) bite them later. Of course, they never thought about their choices like that. Hell, they never thought about their choices at all, hence, they were my clients!

Laurie H.