Several years ago, there was a TV show called The Pretender. The show ran for six years from 1996 to 2000. The main character, Jerod, was a Pretender. Pretenders could become anything they wanted to be.
As a child, Jerod was a prodigy who had been abducted and raised in a think tank called The Centre. He had been lied to and told his parents were dead. The Centre had exploited his genius and sold information they gained through his discoveries. Jerod escaped. Now he’s trying to set right wrongs that had been done by others, at the same time, trying to piece together his own lost history. All the while he was being chased by his former captors.
This was one of mine and my husband’s favorite shows. It was filled with all the ingredients that stoked the imagination: mystery, suspense, action, comedy and the ability to do anything he wanted to do.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to have that ability? Read a medical book and know exactly how to be the best doctor in just a few hours. Study the wind patterns and take a couple test flights and be able to fly jets. Think of it! What would you become? Oh yeah… and you don’t even have to lie about how you did it. You don’t have to. People just think you have a wonderful sense of humor when they ask you how you became so good at that, and you say, “I just read about it in a book last night.”
This is why I started to read and eventually write. Reading is so much more absorbing than watching a movie or TV show. When you watch, you are still on the outside looking in. While a good show with great writing and acting can certainly give a desired escape and take you to a different place and time, it’s nothing compared to a well-written book. In a book, you become that character. You’re not just watching their story, you’re living it.
I think this feeling is even more intense for the author. After all, the author created the character and a piece of the character is the author. I’m also finding more and more authors write as they go. By that, I mean that they don’t have detailed notes on what will happen in each chapter. Many only have a character, a problem and an idea of what they want the overall goal to be, but that’s it. Often, the character is the one writing the story. I have gone so far as to change the ending because “the character wouldn’t do what I wanted.”
This is exactly why I love to write so much. I can live in any part of the world at any time. I can overcome obstacles and interact with anyone I want… or, should I say anyone my character wants. There are no limits. Do I want to be on another planet or in a made up world? It’s possible.
I am a Pretender!