Launching shortly is Gabe Rayner 0: Two Birds, my first piece of fiction. (Although since I’ve been a marketing writer twenty-plus years, you could argue I’ve never done anything else.) Why did I do it?
It’s all about an old piece of psychology: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Maslow never drew it as a pyramid but the diagram works well. First we look to satisfy our basic needs: food, water, sleeping. Once those are fulfilled, we look to keep them: a roof over our heads, a job, a sense of ongoing security. Next up we want to belong, with friends and family; after that, we look for esteem and respect in society. And – right at the top, achieved by only a fraction of people (2% by most guesstimates) – we become self-actualised: making sense of the world, approaching it on our terms, getting things done in a way that suits our morals and ethics.
You know you see guys in the airport lounge and the bar that always seem hyper-sure of themselves, quietly confident, with places to go and people to see? Those guys are self-actualised. They’re often outside the mainstream, creative types, not so many suits and briefcases. Another thing that unites them is they rarely need to justify what they do and how they are to other people. That’s all part of it.
In thriller fiction, the genre I’m trying out, surprisingly few heroes are self-actualised. They’re often driven by far baser motivators: saving the girl, punishing the thief, stopping the runaway train. Most protagonists are people things happen to, not make things happen for themselves.
What if we tried writing from another perspective – about a hero who actively seeks out adventurous situations and turns them to his advantage, using them to build his experience of life?
That’s what Rayner is. And the first novella is up on Amazon in October. I expect fully six people to read it. We’ll see…