We have had a lovely summer here in the UK but winter is on its way now, so are you looking forward to it, or dreading it? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? A "glass half-full" or "glass half-empty" type?
For me it varies, but much as I love the winter weather, I am …. cautious, because I can see so many potentially horrendous results of a tiny little action. I believe this is one of the side effects of having a creative brain that is always thinking of "what if…." Very necessary for me as a writer, because many of my "what if" moments turn into full-blown novels, but sometimes the creative side gets carried away.
For example, with the icy weather in prospect I shall soon have to be thinking of finding my ice-grips to put over my walking boots when I take the dog out for his exercise. (Yes, that is me in the photos!) Some people love the snow and ice and bound around, skiing, snow-boarding and generally enjoying themselves. I am more cautious, watching every footstep and trying to keep my balance. The eager optimists will say "just enjoy it, after all, what's the worst that can happen? You can fall over.'
Yes, well, that's their opinion, but my creative mind goes much further than that. Yes, I could fall over. I could break an ankle, or a leg, my mobile phone might not work because the signal on the hills is intermittent, so I could be lying there for hours… days… perhaps even in a blizzard. And when (or if) I am rescued the leg could be infected, perhaps need to be amputated - you see what I mean about getting carried away!
But that's the way my writer's brain works, always thinking up scenarios. If you write crime or horror, then the scenarios must be even more bleak, but perhaps they are kept firmly under control! Fortunately, the "what if" scenes for my books are the optimistic kind and have my characters finding a happy-ever-after ending (although not until they have struggled sufficiently to deserve their happiness, of course). Let others carry on with their daring exploits and adventurous life-styles, I am definitely not one of life's action heroes – I prefer to let my characters enjoy adventures while I stay safe and warm at my desk.
So let's go back to my "what if" scene of falling over in the snow. It could be very different. I could fall down and hurt my ankle, and be found by a handsome hunk who carries me back to his nearby cottage and wraps me in a huge fluffy bath sheet while my wet clothes are drying, and we sit before the roaring fire enjoying hot chocolate and marsh-mallows…..
Now isn't that a much nicer image? It makes me quite excited about the coming winter!
So am I alone in this? Do you have "what if" moments that prevent you from doing things? Or is it the opposite and the "what if" positively encourages you to go ahead and take a chance? I'd love to know!
MELINDA HAMMOND / SARAH MALLORY
BOUGHT FOR REVENGE – pub Harlequin August 2013