Wednesday, August 11


Posted by Shelly Holder

Oh noes! I got dissed on public webspace, so now I'm goaded into pulling out the big guns. Be ready, o' friend my friend. This writer is about to deliver a novel reading experience. I shall not suffer in silence!

The aforementioned friend and heinous slanderer found this meme on the internet, and thought to issue a fun challenge: Answer the following questions. (I bet now she wishes she didn't heh heh heh)

-Why do you write?
-What is your idea of success?
-What do you spend enormous amounts of energy on? Why?
-Who / what has influenced you?
-What belief do you hold most dear? What does your faith consist of? What do you refuse to believe?
-If you could interview anyone, living or dead, fictional or real, whom would you choose and why?
-Travel in your mind to a different time and describe what you find.
-What would you do if you had no expectations or duties to fulfill?
-What would you like to do or see before you die?
-What is your idea of a perfect weekend?
-What would you change about yourself?
-What has been hardest for you to forgive?
-What are your favorites? (Books, movie moments, plays, pieces of music, paintings, foods, holidays, animals, names, sports, activities, places, etc.)
-What qualities do you most admire in people? What qualities do you despise?
-Describe your ideal mate.
-What used to be important to you and now isn't? What didn't used to be important to you but is now?

Not all of these necessarily apply to writing, but I'm sure I'll find a way.

Why I Write

Every author is asked this question. Every author attempts an answer. And every author walks away a little uneasy, wondering if he got it right, or chose the right word to explain something he doesn't truly know himself. And the next time they are asked, the make it just one sentence clearer, one sentiment more understood, both to the audience and themselves. It's only the series of questions, the constant repetition, that's worth anything. So each time, we get up, and answer again.

On the other hand, there's a great instinct for the direction the drive blows in from.

If I may, I'll go off in a brief but relevant tangent.

I've been thinking lately a lot about the role that popular fiction plays in the psyche.  There has long been the claim that only "high literature" has any sort of profound influence on the mind, and that anything meant for the mass market is mere mind fluff. As I spend more and more time reading through the best sellers and blockbusters, I realize that this is absolutely NOT TRUE. Sometimes, the most resonating book is the very mental candy that is so despised by "literary" circles. Iris Johansen's Deadlock seemed to be a very accurate and moving depiction of post-traumatic stress disorder. The healing process that the main character goes through paralleled some of my own experiences in coping, and I not only indentified, but completed one more step in my personal progress. Somehow, as well-written as they might be, I doubt that reading Moby Dick or Great Expectations would have done the same. (*Disclaimer: I have no doubt that in a different situation, for a different person, the results might be reversed, but my focus is on stereotypes and expectations in the publishing world.)

I'm not saying that the author has to have this outcome in mind, but like Lilith Saintcrow can take pride in their "hack" status. Rather, I would argue that every hack has the unlimited potential to create a work both meaningful and influential. Indeed, might even have a greater likelihood because the result is unintentional.

So I write, crudely and merely in essence, to provide others with the same healing in words that I have found. Whether in serious or silly works, with set or unknown intent, I want to be the author that solves a few problems, and gets a few laughs along the way. I cannot think of anything better or more glorious than that. 

Right Now: 
What I'm listening to: Ranetki "O Tebe"
What I want most: some dedicated writing time- and go!  


purplume said...

I agree.
Recently, I have adapted a novel I wrote for one of my grandchildren to comic book format.
It's where he's at and what this basically non0reader is more likely to read.
It makes me laugh to think of my schoolteacher aunt rolling over in her grave and sniffing 'comic book?'
I say put it in the form they can understand.

writinflower01 said...

Exactly. The form (or genre) should not matter as much as the content, and presentation should not affect the reception of a work. Sometimes, sadly, I think pretension can get in the way. But really, our goal as an author is just to get the best story we know how to tell. The rest, I suppose, will work itself out.