It sort of comes with the territory of being an INTJ, but I don’t think there has ever been a point in my life when I wasn’t devoting at least some time every day to thinking up new ideas for stories, books, novels, and the like. Growing up, I read just about everything I could find. I successfully committed the entire Goosebumps, Ghosts of Fear Street, Animorphs, Boxcar Children and Hardy Boys series to memory. I was one of those kids who would always mentally superimpose myself into the story somehow (and naturally play a pivotal role in helping to defeat the villains and saving the day).
I wrote every so often throughout high school and college, but the pattern was usually the same:
Step 1: I spontaneously generated what I believed to be a great idea for a story.
Step 2: I spent days, weeks or months dreaming up characters (with a few bad-ass one-liners), locations, actions and even the obligatory twist ending if I was so inclined.
Step 3: I would sit down at my desk and draw up roughly twenty or thirty (no kidding) outlines for the story (the “witch’s hat” plot pattern).
Step: 4: I would sit down at my computer and type up anywhere from one paragraph to one page.
Step 5: I would begin to change minor details as I was writing, which would then require me to draw up a new outline and start all over again.
Step 6: I became frustrated and rationalized that my time would be better spent modding my video games or playing my ocarina instead of writing.
Step 7: Repeat from Step 1.
Yeah… true to our nature, ideas have a tendency to take off and subsequently crash and burn in the minds of most INTJs.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I finally began to find ways of disrupting my pattern. As I mentioned in a previous post, I successfully outlined, wrote, rewrote and edited a remake of the film adaptation of “Jumanji.” However, that technically isn’t a book and I’ve been riding on it for a few years now, so I think it’s time to get back into things. Things which, ideally, wouldn’t result in a hazy coincidental similarity disclaimer in court.
My most recent project is an adventure series featuring anthropomorphic animals (naturally) that for a few years I was never able to write (see Steps 1-7). However, it occurred to me recently to simply change the target audience approach: I changed it from a young adult series into a children’s series, and I’m finally beginning to make some very real progress. Essentially, less “Fear Street” and more “Magic Tree House.” That might mean fewer supernatural entities and restless spirits, but I suppose we must all suffer for our art.
I’m going to test the waters with self-publishing. I teach an entire chapter on the book publishing industry, so I figure it’s worth a shot. I’ll be posting samples of my work on this site, so check back to see if it’s something you’d be interested in superimposing yourself into it (as a nonhuman, please; we must respect the source material).
In case you’re curious, my favorite books include most of the classics: Alice in Wonderland (probably my absolute favorite), Frankenstein, Animal Farm, 1984, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Time Machine, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Day of the Triffids, that sort of thing. My bookcase contains a motley of vastly obscure works.
Once again… it comes with the territory!