What If? Welcome to the What If writer’s website!
A promise to my reader (and fellow What Ifite)
Haven’t you asked yourself (at least 10 times a day)« What If » questions? What if I had moved to California? (or Texas or Maine…) What if my great great grandfather during a trip to France bought a picture of sunflowers that a crazy red-haired artist with one ear was painting in a field? What if I had delivered pizzas to Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room and he couldn’t come up with the 15 bucks delivery price, and being a mega chump, I accepted a 2 percent interest in that fly-by-night company he was setting up? What if King George of England back in the 18th century, did not deny a certain Virginia planter, also named George, an officer’s commission in his army? And I could go on and on, because What If is Imagination, and also the proof that we all have one, and the thing about Imagination, or the What If part of it, is that it occurs naturally. No one can beat it back, or else we wouldn’t read anything but instruction manuals and the How to Improve Yourself Until You Are Beautiful, Intelligent, Rich, Successful, and Popular Beyond Belief Books. (Which are indirectly What If books, right?)
Now, are you following me? Yes? Well, perhaps then you would agree that those inescapable What Ifs turn everything into material for the writer of fiction, and also, more surprisingly, non-fiction. And, everything means hard cold facts, which, by the way, any writer worth his Word app, distinguishes from the outpourings of his imagination. Lotus-eaters have no time and no energy to write. Writers do. Take my Word for it!
The What ifs of a writer act like magical lenses to equip the reader to see situations from many dimensions, the common three but also the fourth. Am I being too unclear and philosophical? I beg your pardon. When, for example, Captain Ahab pursues the Great White Whale, it’s not only the sea mammal he’s hunting, but something that goes beyond a tragic whaling expedition. Or else Melville would have written a How-to whaling manual for aspiring young whalers.
But here’s the kicker. I believe that the What Ifs enliven historical facts. What if Anne Frank had lived through the War. What if Lincoln had not been assassinated. What if Hitler had not moved a bomb loaded briefcase one of his generals had placed against his chair in the meeting room. ‘Sorry to be so depressing, but reading History has never been like strolling through a field of daisies. The What Ifs tease forth other options. Our reasoning mingles with our imaginations. Here’s a What If generating machine: “Arriving after the play had started, the two couples swept up the stairs and into their seats. The box door was closed, but not locked. As the play progressed, police guard John Parker, a notorious drinker, left his post in the hallway leading to the box and went across the street for a drink. During the third act, the President and Mrs. Lincoln drew closer together, holding hands while enjoying the play.” (from eyewitness to history.com).
An ambiance emerges from the factual description, History no longer reads like a text book, but plunges into the heat of the action, suggesting, never imposing a mood, a feeling, a sensation, and ambiance. And, this is what I promise my readers, both fiction lovers and history fans, to create words that create an ambiance, whether it’s in my fiction or non-fiction, and most of all, I promise never to bore you.