Friday, September 17, 2010

What do you Write About?

Free-form Friday

Some people say they write because they want to see their name on books and perhaps entertain someone. I understand the sentiment, but there are, frankly, far less painful ways to gratify your ego and amuse others than commercial writing.

Perhaps utilitarianism is my fatal flaw, but I find it hard to imagine undertaking an endeavor as difficult as writing novels if I didn't hope to accomplish something.

"What," you may ask, "should a novel accomplish besides offering entertainment?" 

Not "a message." Having a message will almost certainly kill a story. Writers on a mission tend to force plot and character into the service of the message, no matter how unnatural the contortions. But I part company with the folks who go to the other extreme and claim that the highest and purest literature isn't about anything at all.

The words come easily when you have something you want to talk about-- ideas to explore, scenarios to play with, and possibilities to consider. Your job is to explore the conceptual landscape and invite the readers to play with the ideas uncovered along the way.

So what do I want to talk about?

I want to explore the time and space of becoming--specifically, the journey of the young adult as they try to come to terms with a world that is both more wonderful and more terrifying than they ever imagined. I want to tell stories about navigating the Great Between.

What do you want to talk about in your writing?

Image: Photography by BJWOK /

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