Really, I’m telling the truth here.
This is not me.
Eh… this is not he. Not you. Oh, you know what I mean.
I’ve hijacked this blog to talk about something very, very important to me. If someone could please remind me what that something is, I’d be very grateful.
But until that message arrives: This.
What makes us who we are?
In this case, it’s words. In real life, it’s actions. In stories, it’s the historical record. In other people’s stories, it’s opinion. In court, it’s provable facts. On a jury, it’s assumed facts.
The question is, given the materials available to us, how do you make yourself into a different person?
The government provides an easy way: new name, new location, new documentation.
But on your own? Say, with only words? What are the linguistic tics that make you who you are? How can writers have a voice if that voice isn’t easily identifiable by the writer’s readers? If they can’t identify it, then what reason do they have to follow the writer from book to book, story to story, polite fiction to polite fiction?
In my dreams of authordom, I imagine writing a different book each time I write a book. I mean, a book in a different style. A book in a different voice. A book that is significantly different from what I’ve written before.
In the paragraph above, replace “my” with “his” and “I” with “Andrew”. Other grammatical changes are on your head alone.
Some authors seem to prefer to write the same thing over and over again. Or, to be more precise, with slight variations. He believes he would be bored. Though it is possible, he admits, that come publication and riches (which we all know is the lot of the published author) he will produce copy after copy of the original, each a step further down the path of visual disintegration from that first picture.
Just to alleviate all doubts. I am a different person. I know it. He knows it. And you should know it, too.
Of course, the trick now is to believe it.