Friday, August 15, 2014

Why Do You Write?

When asked why I write, I usually come up with one of a few common answers, the most frequent being “I have stories to tell.” They rattle around in my head until I finally give up and commit them to paper (in recent years my hard drive). But then a period of reflection reveals a different reason—or reasons—so I am telling you why I write before asking you why you do it.

Image via Dave on Morguefile
One thing that comes to mind for me is my soapbox. (This can’t be obvious because it will turn off the reader.) I never promote a political party, a religion, or a cause. But I do have a very subtle (I hope) agenda. My first novel, for example, dealt with domestic violence. It’s an integral part of the story, and the victim is a major character—though not the protagonist. And it isn’t the primary plot. Still, much of the story’s emotion and connection with the reader evolves from her situation. Also, every incident of abuse is one that either I or someone I know lived.

Other works address situations that have also touched my heart and will, I hope, do the same for readers. The first book in my current series explores the fascinating interactions between men and women, misunderstandings that can arise from making assumptions, and the life-altering effects of substance abuse. Its sequel delves into the long-term results of child abuse, as well as the perils of becoming involved, however unintentionally, with drug pushers. Will a third one be added to this series? That has yet to be determined. A young adult novel also on the table tackles conflicting views of ranchers and animal activists regarding wolves in Colorado. Another “gentle thriller” focuses on family dynamics, racial discrimination, and Medicare fraud. Still another dramatizes how tentacles of infidelity can, years later, flood innocent and even unconnected lives with drama, danger, and death.

Image via Hotblack on Morguefile
All these scenarios call out to me and make good grist for my writing mill. Handing them to my various characters to face and run with makes my stories realistic and may (hopefully) shed light on some of my readers’ lives. Yes, I want to tell stories, but I also want to entertain, enrich, and enlighten all those who read my books.

So why do you write?


Linda Lane and her editing team mentor and encourage writers at all phases of the writing process. To learn more about what they do, please visit them at www.denvereditor.com.

12 comments :

  1. Thought-provoking post, Linda. I also write for many different reasons, some of which are: to try and understand something better myself and increase awareness in others; to escape and have fun; for the creative energy boost; to share a story that has developed in my mind and given me goosebumps... and many more reasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reasons we write probably contribute to the kinds of stories as well as the focus and tone of our works. I hadn't thought about the creative energy boost we receive, but that's a great positive because so many things tend to drain that from us.

      Delete
  2. There are so many reasons to write. I mostly write because it is therapeutic for me and also helps me escape or deal with stress. It helps me to get to know myself better and enables me to see where I am on my life journey. Sometimes I write so that I can wallow in certain emotions or to peek into an atmosphere I would normally never experience. Sometimes I write because the story is developing like a movie in my head and I have to let it out, before the story train throws itself out the other end of my brain. Sometimes, I feel like I'm so full of stuff that I just have to let it all out and taking out my feelings on a non-existent person is better than taking it out on a real live person whose could get hurt. Sometimes I write so that I can become somebody else. Sometimes, I just write for fun/enjoyment - the tapping on the keyboard, the feeling of accomplishment, the dancing of pen on paper, the smell of old paper, the imaginary taste of food I want to eat...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, yes, Jovanna. I love the movies in the head. And embracing the joy of the words, the clicks of the keyboard, the paper, the smells, the tastes, this is the best!

      Delete
  3. I write what I like to read and enjoy telling stories. I can't deny my personal agendas probably sneak in there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My first completed novel grew out of the books I was reading and my disappointment in the changing content that had migrated from suggestion and innuendo to graphic details that made me cringe. You're quite right about those personal agendas...they definitely do sneak in. :-)

      Delete
  4. My YA series contains messages to young girls: you can be a leader, you control your destiny by the choices you make, you can be brave even when the world is chaotic. I write nonfiction that helps me and I hope it helps others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all write what appeals to us, interests us, or helps us. Bravo for creating positive messages for young girls--they need all the good encouragement they can get!

      Delete
    2. I'm attempting similar, Diana. I write about princesses - but their title means that they are in a position of leadership, and all the responsibility that entails. I'm also trying to increase the ratio of male to female characters as per Geena Davis's findings that only an average 17% of a cast consists of female characters. Plus I'm trying to include a variety of multi-faceted female (and male) characters of all age groups (from 6 to 900 ;-) ).

      Delete
    3. The reality is that your writing imitates life--and therefore will ring true with your readers. For the vast majority of us, our lives include people of both genders, a wide variety of ages, and those whose personalities are "multi-faceted." I particularly like the fact that you are making your protagonists 'responsible.' Too often these days, we find people shirking responsibility and refusing to be accountable for their actions. Good role models--even fictional ones--bring a powerful lesson to those in their formative years. (And to some extent, aren't we all in our "formative years"?) Furthermore, consequences come with choices. We pay a price when we choose to be irresponsible, as well as when we choose to be accountable. However, these consequences are almost always quite different. Great comment, Elle. I need to read one of your books. :-)

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm with Jovanna in that writing is "therapeutic." I began writing at a young age, being shy and the sibling that got yelled at and picked at the most. I found writing down my feelings released them and eased my mind. For some, mediation soothes; for me, writing can sometimes release the stress. I also write to get the stories out of my head, although, other that The Big Bad Rain Monster, and my blog posts, where I too have an agenda or what Linda refers to as a "soapbox," I keep most of what I write tucked in a drawer. But, the pure honest thing is: I write because the story comes to me and I need to write it down. Afterwards, I step away from what I've written with the thought that for maybe a millisecond, I've conquered the world!

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...