Finding Myself in My WIP

A bit of me goes into everything I write, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. Reading my novels gives you some idea of who I am and how I see the world. Mental health professionals who read all three probably see enough to offer a diagnosis.

Since penning my first novel, I’ve struggled to figure out who I am as a writer. For no good reason, I thought me the writer was somehow different from who I am as a person. Whippersnapper has shown me they are one and the same, and in the process, freed me from self-imposed constraints. It’s more “me” than any of my previous books have been.

People say I’m funny. Telling humorous stories is a family tradition and as essential to who I am as big feet and brown eyes. Glimpses of my humor are sprinkled throughout my first three novels, but the focus has always been elsewhere. After a suggestion from Mom, I’ve unleashed my inner funny guy for Whippersnapper.

Blogging as the Crotchety Old Man launched my writing career. I abandoned the blog, but kept my @CrotchetyMan handle and followers on Twitter. The curmudgeonly codger bitched and complained about neighbors failing to pick up after dogs, the shrinking width of toilet paper, bad customer service, and other petty annoyances. Oliver Crumbly, one of three main characters in Whippersnapper, is the crotchety old man personified.

I’ve got more aunts than toes (of which I have the usual ten), and have always been more comfortable around women than men. Throughout college and my professional career, women outnumbered men in my classes and as coworkers by a significant margin. Many told me things they’d never tell a straight guy. Some still do.

Women have played important but minor roles in my stories. Not anymore. Peggy Tucker is my first female main character. She’s a bit of an every-woman and a loving tribute to my aunts in ways my family will see and others will hopefully find entertaining. At the moment, she’s run away with the story. I’m letting her have her way because she’s a riot. Writing her is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

Whippersnapper is the kind of story I wanted Until Thanksgiving to be — before I added the serial killer. Back then, I didn’t know how. Now I do. Or at least, I think I do. Guess I’ll find out when it comes out. But first, I need to finish writing it.