When the Bullet Hits the Bone


I suck.

I’m an ass.

Can I be honest here?  No?  Screw it.  It’s my post, not yours.

I had a really bad week.  Although, my family would disagree with that statement.  They would say THEY had a really bad week.  With me.

Like a petulant child, I had several tirades.  I said mean things.  My behavior was inexcusable.

I won’t go into the sordid details behind my churlish performances.  But I want to use my errant ways to point out parallels to writing.  And perhaps garner some brownie points to earn me a few more inches out of Chateau Bow Wow (dog house for those who don’t speak French).

My stories involve lots of psychological aspects.  I like to get into the minds of my characters because that is where true horror is born.  We’ve all heard the joke – the mind is a terrible thing.  As humans we are gifted with free choice.  One of the dangers of free choice is making bad decisions.  And bad decisions lead to bad consequences.

When we read stories, we want to follow along the mistakes people make.  We crave it.  Who the hell wants to read about the woman who makes all the best decisions – picking a doting mate, with a fabulous career and great co-workers, and angelic children?  Not me.  I want her to pick the guy who is absolutely no good for her.  I want her boss to be a conniving prick.  I want her co-workers to be scheming, back-stabbing roadblocks.  And I want her children to be experimental monsters with sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Interesting tales involve people who can’t get out of their own way.  Folks who get caught up in the emotions of the moment without seeing the ramifications down the line.  Times when people take things for granted, abuse the gifts given to them and act irresponsibly, even after their parents spent decades teaching them to be better human beings.

Where are you going with this, Chuck?

Great question.  My point is, I am a fallible human being who makes TONS of bad decisions.  However, none of them have anything to do with my wife and kids.  But pretty much everything else.  And that is what makes life interesting.  It is what we draw our stories from as writers.  The missteps.  The boo-boos.  The embarrassing moments.

Like many characters, I am not smart enough to steer clear of these bad decisions.  And like many characters, I am not inherently evil.  I just fall prey to the same sins as them.  Not that it is any excuse – for the characters or me.

Maybe I should write more stories about myself.  A case study, if you will, in a fictitious parable.  I might even learn from my own mistakes.  And get closer to exiting the dog house.

Man in the Doghouse — Image by © H. Armstrong Roberts/CORBIS