Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Story of my life as a writer

Recently, I was asked to write the 'story of your life as a writer'. I thought about how I started to write, just when I began to put ideas down on paper and why. And why I write fiction.

I did a lot of reminiscing and I came to what was for me, a bit of a startling revelation. Early in my life, I was into 'pretend'. I thought all children did that sort of thing, but as I look back on the behavior of my own children, I realized, maybe I was a bit different.

I remember digging through the 'old fashioned' clothing my mother had collected from several long dead relatives. My sister and I would dress up and pretend. I made up the story and my poor sister had to go along with me. After all, I was the oldest. The same was true when we spent time on my grandparents farm. I distinctly remember attempting to build a covered wagon out of an old garden cart to 'pretend' we were traveling west
just like the stories we heard about the early pioneers. Again, my brother and sisters were forced to go along with my plans.

So, I guess my adventure into fiction was preordained years ago. Something else contributed to my desire to write. I loved books. I was already reading a book. I read everyone one of the books in my grandparents' bookshelves before I got to high school.
As kids, we went to the library once a week, and we could borrow as many books as we wanted. Perhaps the need to escape younger sisters and my brother contributed to my need to read, but I doubt it. Those early books fed my imagination. I loved being able to immerse myself in another time, or another place.

It's no wonder then, that I turned to writing fiction when I knew I had to write. And that's another thing. I knew I had to write. There are so many quotes from famous authors about how they had to write. It's something you have to do. I understand that sentiment completely. I also think I know why I picked fiction. As for writing romances, I guess I'll just have to admit that I'm a true romantic. I've been known to cry while reading a sad book, I get all choked up during some movie scenes no matter how often I've seen them. Even a good piece of music will set the tears falling. And I don't like a book with a sad ending. I feel let done, unsatisfied. Even with a mystery or a murder story, for me the bad guy has to get caught.

Okay, so I've got to write, I know why I write fiction and why I like happily-ever-after endings. So, let me know why you write what you write. I'd love to hear.


Big Mike said...

Yeah, do think its in the genes. From the age of 17 I was making up stories in my head, just for fun. As I grew older, they became more involved, sophisticated. A lot came when I spent 2 hours a day on the road and had to do something with my mind, or at night as I laid there waiting for the sand man. Just enjoyed doing it. Now, many have become my romantic suspense and SF stories.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Ashley Barnard said...

I know that feeling -- "having" to write. I mistrust any adults who suddenly wake up one morning and decide to be a writer.

Jude Johnson said...

I think we "have to" write because all those sessions of pretend start filling up the free spaces in our heads. That and the voices keep nagging me...

It's refreshing to read that a man admits to playing "make-believe" as a boy. It's one thing to play at pirates, which is considered cool until a certain age, but that's absolutely great you got your siblings to go along in the covered wagon! And even if they don't admit it, it probably enriched their lives in ways you can't measure.

Ciara Gold said...

I had the most fun visualizing you dressed up in costume, Big Mike. I did the same thing when I was young. Back then, we used our imaginations to entertain ourselves. I almost fear for a society on youngsters that use only the computer for entertainment or video games. Where's the imagination in that?

Now, I write to entertain myself. It beats channel flipping.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

You're right. It's a compulsion as much as an occupation.

I know a lot of writers who are compelled but who don't feel the need to publish, only to record. I do both.