Writers evolve. They learn the craft, make mistakes, correct their errors, develop their voice, and learn some more. The process takes time ( years ), requires lots and lots of writing and hours and hours of reading. But what they don’t tell you is that a writer actually morphs into the most frightening creatures each time they write a novel! That’s right! This change is far worse than the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde transformation. Far far more terrifying.
Here, my writing friends, is the true terror of a writer’s transmutation.
Gargoyle: You are protective of your manuscript, guarding it with your life by making sure to protect the plot and characters from the eyes of nefarious uncreative Others with designs on your concept. It takes a stony and menacing exterior to protect your manuscript baby from the social media demons bent on crushing your creative spirit.
Ghost: This transmutation happens when you stay up late into the night to write your novel, arriving at work the next morning a ghostly employee, haunted by the spirit of your plot and characters. A shadow of your formal self, your body exists in the office realm while your spirit remains trapped in the manuscript dimension.
Harpy: Like the ravenous female-faced bird of Greek mythology, this change happens when you swoop down on someone’s idle comment or idea, snatching it for use in your novel. Hungry for ideas, you don’t mind carrying off some tasty bit of evildoing or delicious turn of phrase if it will spice up your plot.
Dr. Frankenstein: “It’s alive,” you scream when your manuscript comes to life before your eyes. You’re so overcome with the burden of this great unwieldy creature created from disparate parts, you begin to lose your mind. A pointless character here, a plot hole there, an superfluous scene, an overused trope—What…Have…You…Done !? The monster, feared by all who read it, seeks revision justice.
Vampire: You stay up all night because it is only by biting into your manuscript that you are able to transfer your own life blood into the characters. Not only that, but you begin wearing black from head to toe ( due in part to your dour mood and because you don’t want to waste valuable writing time ) and you make cryptic remarks about your novel ‘living forever.’
Werewolf: This transformation is the most common, happening when you receive snarky criticism, forget to save the day’s work, or get a rejection email from an agent. Howl if you must, bare your teeth and snarl—it’s sooooo therapeutic. And you’re sure to feel like your old self the next day. Just make sure not to do any social media damage when you go full werewolf.
Lady Macbeth: “Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me to the toes top-full of direst cruelty.” Sometimes a writer must embrace their inner vile vicious monster when portraying an evil character. So much fun! So, repeat after me, “Come thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell.” Very good…now kick some antagonist ass.
Zombie: Must finish novel…must finish novel…must finish novel. Under the total control of your manuscript you become your plot’s slave, your will no longer your own. Unlike a real ( ? ) zombie you do have a brain…I hope.
Do you dare look in the mirror and see your true self? Which fearsome creature do you morph into?