Now I pretty much only write contemporary YA, so it's not like I have a lot of world building to do. Sure, I can create cities and schools and people, but at the end of the day, they all take place in our world. Denver is still the capital of Colorado, hydrogen is still the lightest element, and Donald Trump is still the 45th president....sigh...
But there is one radical difference in all my books. One thing that changes from my universe to the book's universe. In my novels, I don't exist. Brian Katcher doesn't live there.
I first thought about this idea after reading a short story by Robert Bloch (author of Psycho) called 'The Plot is the Thing.' A woman is sucked into a reality where all movie creatures, such as Frankenstein's monster and Dracula are real. And when she goes to the library, there are no books by Mary Shelley or Bram Stoker. When the creations are real, the creators are not.
It's kind of eerie if you think about it. In my world, where my characters live and love and have adventures, I do not exist. This goes for any author. True, like Clive Cussler, I'm guilty of tossing in the occasional author avatar. And Kurt Vonnegut explored the idea of the author trapped in his own creation in Breakfast of Champions. But no matter what worlds I build, Brian Katcher, father, school librarian, and part-time writer, does not exist in my books. Every author of fiction ultimately writes themselves out of existence. To write is to negate oneself.
So every time you sit down to start a new book, just remember that you are, in effect, destroying yourself. And that's what makes the creative process so delightful!
Oh, and go out and reach Robert Bloch's stuff. Very underrated horror writer.