October 20th was National Writing Day. On the website “She Writes” a question was posed: “Why do you write?” Responses were limited to 140 characters (not words, characters) so, before replying, I thought about it for some time and realized that there are lots of reasons why I write and, specifically, why I write fiction.
There are intriguing snatches of conversations I’ve overheard, interesting or unusual physical and personality traits I’ve observed and unforgettable situations and events in people’s lives that they’ve told me through the years stored in my memory bank. Taking all those seemingly unrelated bits and pieces of information and creating characters and plots, combining them and transforming them into stories, gets them out of my head and onto paper and is extremely rewarding to me.
But why? Maybe creating stories is my attempt to shed some light on the human condition and to make sense of what I’ve seen, heard and experienced throughout my life. Possibly, it’s because I want to leave my own tiny mark on the world, something that will be around after I’m gone. Or, perhaps it’s the fact that I don’t like loose ends but I do like all my ducks in a row and writing a novel is a way I can get them all lined up. My characters certainly don’t have it easy. They struggle with conflict, find themselves in some scary situations and they definitely have problems. But here’s the part I love. When I write a novel, I know there will be resolution, that all the loose ends will be tied up by the end of the book, neat and nice. Not necessarily a happy ending but a satisfying one.
Probably, the answer to why I write fiction is all of the above. My reply to the question on “She Writes” was, “I write because, for some inexplicable reason, ideas for characters, dialogue and plots swirl around in my head until I give in and combine them to create a story.” Why do you write fiction?