Why I Write Fiction

I started writing fiction in third grade. I ALWAYS wanted to write novels, and I grew up to do just that. I’m an introspective kind of person, and I got to thinking recently about why, exactly, it is I spent SOOO many hours writing fiction. Here are the more interesting/thought-provoking things that I came up with.

1. I AM CREATIVE WITH WORDS, RATHER THAN THROUGH ANOTHER MEDIUM. I have always been a language nut. Linguistics and dialectology fascinate me. I’ve studied Spanish extensively, and also French and Portuguese. Language is my thing, and language is how I’m creative. That’s the form my art takes. I’m no painter or even scrapbooker. I’m not visually creative, and God help the person who ever asked me to help them envision a design for their living space. (I’ve already told my stepmother, she’s designing and decorating my the first home I buy, when I’m out of my apartment.) I’m not creative with my body. I’m not a dancer or any other kind of athlete. The human spirit is, by nature, creative, is expressive. For me, that’s through language.

2. I HAVE A PHILOSOPHER’S SOUL. And by that, I’m in no means comparing myself with Plato or Thomas Aquinas. What I mean is, I ponder the deep questions, a lot. Life, as it is, utterly fascinates me as a subject. I have a strong Catholic faith, and I contemplate the “big stuff” quite a bit: why are we here? why do we suffer? how is it appropriate to act when morally, there is no black and white but a heck of a lot of gray? how is God present in my life, and what is his big plan for me? I address these questions, and work out answers to them, in a large way through my fiction.

3. WRITING, FOR ME, IS LIKE A GOOD TALK WITH A PSYCHOLOGIST, BUT A WHOLE LOT CHEAPER. My fiction is self-given therapy. I’m always FASCINATED to look back on a novel or short story I wrote and consider what challenges I was facing at the time I wrote it and basically, what about my life kind of stunk just then. I find my doubts, fears, insecurities and pains highly disguised but very much present in all my work. I express my angst through my fiction.

4. IF I’M GONNA SIT ON MY BUTT NOT BEING ACTIVE, I figure exercising my brain and getting the creative juices flowing is better than watching television, no? 🙂

5. I LOVE READING A GOOD STORY, and would like to give others that same opportunity if I can. Paying it forward. I think every person truly inspired to write, really meant to write, feels this way. While you write for you, because the story is in you and you need to get it out, you always hope you can inspire, please, and entertain others as well.

6. ESCAPISM. Frankly, my fantasy kingdom of Herezoth is a lot more fun than the real world!

7. I DON’T WRITE THE STORY AS MUCH AS LET THE CHARACTERS DO THEIR OWN THING, WHICH BASICALLY MAKES ME THE STORY’S FIRST READER. I don’t really know what’s going to happen at the end when I’m writing the beginning. I’m not sure where things are headed, and many times–many, many times–I am wrong when I try to anticipate how the dust’s going to settle when all is said and done. It’s fascinating to figure out as I go what’s in store for the characters I care so much about.

Do you write fiction? What attracts you to that medium? I’d love to know! Please comment. Could make for a fun discussion.

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