WHY DO I WRITE?
In preparing for my WRITING FRIENDS author event this Tuesday night, I’ve been wondering what audience members might want to ask an author. I know if it were me, I’d want to know – why do you write?
I write to escape into other worlds. To not only explore those other worlds, but to create them. I can be a games designer, I can feel like a sort of minor god (one of the minion ones who are responsible for moss or fruit juice or something) placing chess pieces and trying to direct fate. But as the Greek Gods found, characters – just like humans – tend to go their own merry way and say, I cheat fate and I defy you. So I have far less control over my characters than you might think. Some days I watch their backs disappearing down some unplanned road and think, I guess I’d better follow or I’ll lose them forever.
I write to achieve my childhood desire to be a great actor, as I get to play all the parts I create. I get to read out all the dialogue and try on different voices like hats. I get to live other lives – fight in wars and escape death, be a man, be a child again, be deaf and blind, be anyone. And I get to do it all without leaving my house. And drink tea simultaneously.
I write because I can’t stop myself. I’ve always done it, I hope I always will. The story is always there, forming and spiralling in my head, every day, every night. In fact, my subconscious works so diligently on each novel while I’m living my life and doing all the other important stuff, that when I sit down to write or plan or research, the ideas line up patiently waiting, saying ‘Where have you been? We’re ready…’ They have so far, anyway. Here’s hoping they always will.
I write because I love to read. I love to read novels and watch movies. I love the way a story can grab you and take you and will not let you go; that the best stories haunt you, the best characters are as real as the people you know, the best images are as memorable as memories. Because humans have made stories from way, way back, from beyond folk memory, even before cave memory, to staring into the night sky and making names for the stars. You could say language is a form of storytelling and we all want to listen. I guess I’m addicted to it, to words, to listening and to telling stories.
That’s why I write.