Surreal–strange, freakish, bizarre? Or dreamlike, having the qualities of the uncanny or unreal.
I remember having an infatuation with Salvador Dali, the artist all through high school. I doubt any of my friends or family even knew of my obsession with his surrealism. To this day when I stare at his paintings, I am not sure what drew me to them. Many of them resembled a bad nightmare or a reflection of someone who’s lived a tortured or nightmarish life. I’d like to believe it was Dali’s choice of colors or, to use a thousand dollar art term, his juxtaposition of things that just didn’t seem to go together. For instance, bananas lounging in a hammock between two trees. Why? Well–I guess the real question is why not?
So, what does any of this have to do with writing or the writing process? I don’t have a ton of experience yet, having just published my first novel, but I’m sure I’ve dreamed up some rather odd characters or scenarios, thinking they were way too freakish, bizarre even. However–it’s in those times I must ask the same question. Why? If I can’t come up with a legitimate answer, I follow it up with why not? The sky is most definitely the limit when it comes to characters, plots, settings, and creativity in general.
Let me toss a tidbit your way for the 3rd book to my NINE trilogy. What does it take to create the perfect villain? All the easy stuff’s been done before. Make him or her so evil they’re hated yet cause readers to develop some sympathy as well. There is a formula, right? So–let me hear from all of you on what it takes to break that formula. I want you to go all Salvador Dali on me. Juxtapose and brainstorm traits and concepts not usually explored. Some might think I’m attempting to get all of you to do the work for me, but that’s where you’d be wrong. I KNOW where my new villain is headed, and I can’t wait to put him in a hammock in between two oak trees to confuse the bejeebers out of all my readers. So much fun. Kind of surreal. Like the fact that it took me four trunk novels to finally get published. If it’s all a dream, and I wake up soon, I’m going to be ticked. 🙂