Folks, it’s hard to follow a post that involves a recommendation featuring surprise anal. I’m not gonna lie. I’m daunted.
I also haven’t read any good wonk lately, myself, in part because I’m working on about three different manuscripts right now and my head is already full enough of characters and plots. So today I’m going to shift gears a bit and discuss writing wonk. Because whatever I’m writing, I suspect it will turn out wonked in the end.
How does it get that way? I don’t know. My current projects range from contemporary erotic romance to YA/middle grade steampunk. That right there probably tells you something. Perhaps an examination of the plots will tell me more about where I tend to veer off the beaten path? Let’s see…a reunion-on-a-road-trip geek romance (with bonus kink); an enemies-to-lovers, repressed-boy meets spirited-girl steampunk road rally (with bonus opium eaters); and two kids, one of whom isn’t what she seems, fighting against a system that is repressive in many ways, both overt and hidden (with bonus gears, cogs and bitchy, uncooperative fairies). Aside from the bonuses, pretty routine stuff. I think it’s those bonuses that do it.
But the characters…ah, the characters. The plots might range wildly, but what all these stories (and a lot of wonkomances, I think) have in common is a certain type of character. All of them want to belong somewhere, and would probably love to be capable of belonging in the mainstream. They sort of wish they were normal, because normal would be so much easier. Normal would mean knowing what to expect, and knowing what is expected. They can’t have that, though. And a fundamental part of their journey must be learning to fashion a life in which their weird is the new normal. In which their freakish flaws become useful, valued traits – or at least aren’t a functional impediment to happiness anymore. The wonked character nearly always faces this struggle: to change their self-perception. To celebrate their otherness, and find the strengths inherent in their variance from the norm. Or, conversely, to find that the rest of the world isn’t normal either – there is no “normal”, there are only averages that fail to tell individual stories.
So that is my epiphany du jour: wonky characters just want to belong to the club like everyone else, but they can’t, so they have to learn to start their own clubs. Sometimes with bonus oddities.
My mind is a blank, but it’s obviously a wonky blank.
However, I’m still short on reading material, in case I get a spare minute in between writing all this stuff. I downloaded a bunch of free reads from Amazon the other day, but none of it looks appealing to me now. So gimme some recs, people! Show me your wonks of the week!