Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why I write

My friend Damien wrote a fairly amazing post on his blog, about why he writes, and specifically, why he writes speculative fiction. At the end of his post, he asked others for their answers. Here's mine.

"In the beginning was the Word."

Words are magic. Really, that's the heart of it for me. Words create form from chaos, and while I understand the Second Law of Thermodynamics means that things fall apart, I will hold the center as long as I can. I write because when I can't sleep at night, telling stories holds the nightmares at bay. I write because, as Damien said, I am a Clarion grad, and that is what we do. I write because I need to know what happens next.

"It was a dark and stormy night."

I write speculative fiction because for me, that sentence is not the beginning of a bad fiction contest, but the beginning of a book that changed my life: A Wrinkle in Time. It's the first book I remember reading to myself, and it made me wonder about the extraordinary. I write speculative fiction because it allows me to skip to the interesting bits. Of course high school is Hell - what happens next? I write speculative fiction for the same reason that I wanted to live in Bordertown - because life is so much more real when the numinous creeps through the places between. Because I never thought "Here there be dragons" was a caution, I thought it was cool.

Because "we are such stuff as dreams are made on," as a great writer of speculative fiction once said, and our dreams are the truest part of us.

Why do you write?


  1. I loved Bordertown to pieces when I was younger. Finder is still one of my favourite YA novels. Have been urging kids to buy it, even though we don't have it in store.

  2. In all honesty? I write because I have to. Because I ache when I don't and because the worlds inside my head are worlds that are screaming to get out.

    Because I have not, in all my experimenting and all my wandering, found a drug or a rush that compares with the feeling of mastery that comes when a story is finished.

    Because when I read a story I can't help but think about how I'd have done it, about the little sutures and hinges that make the flesh-machine work.

    And I write speculative fiction for much the same reason you do--because myths are truths about truth, and above truth; and because magic lets us say things we can't say otherwise. What fun is the world without the sense that something bigger than you is happening?

  3. Because, once you finish, you get a feeling of acomplishment, and pride, and that sensation of having created something that didn't exist before you put it down on paper, and I want people to see what I saw, and witness what simply wasn't there before. All that that makes you smile and think "I wanna share it with everybody and more"

    Yep, I know. Too self-centered. But I love that feeling.