Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fricassee

So. Here's a question for you:

Why do you write?

I mean, give it some thought. Most of us have a "quick answer" that flies out of our mouths without our having to think about it.

"I love telling stories."

"It's therapeutic."

"If I didn't write, I would drop dead."

But take a few minutes to really ponder the why. We all know that writing -- good writing, that is -- is work. As in, WORK! So it's not a day in the park, is it? Regardless of how exhilarated we may feel after we've accomplished something.

So what is it, for you? What is your why? (That sentence, taken out of context, is absolutely horrid. You'd think I couldn't write. Or something.)

Here's my answer:

If we're talking about the nonfiction writing -- blogging, e-books, etc. -- I do it because it is almost effortless, and I love it. I have a heart to teach, to encourage, to bring laughter. To be able to do these things through the gift of the written word is a delight.

If we're talking about fiction for children -- I do it because I derive intense pleasure (and have for as long as I can remember) from creating worlds and characters who exist outside of the everyday-ness of my life, and who do wonderful things. I also dearly love children (all ages, up to that difficult-to-pin-down "young adult" age), and I have a fond desire for children (lots of children) to fall in love with my worlds, my characters, my stories. Not only that, but I want my writing to inspire youngsters to read -- and to WRITE. And I want them to read and to write WELL. With passion, with zest, with a desire to learn and grow and improve and excel.

I don't want to be "famous." I want to be "beloved."

Okay. Your turn.

Oh, and in case you're not feeling like joining our therapy session? Let's play a little "make the worst sentence possible" game. It's easy: I will post a simple, two-word sentence. The next person will add ONE WORD or ONE SIMPLE PHRASE to it. The next person will do the same thing, without changing what's already there. When we're through, we'll have an incredibly nasty, run-on sentence that will make us all feel better about our writing.

Example:

1. Jennifer wept.
2. Jennifer wept uncontrollably.
3. Jennifer, shivering with cold, wept uncontrollably.
4. Jennifer, shivering with cold, wept uncontrollably in the garden.
5. Jennifer, shivering with cold, wept uncontrollably in the garden, while Bruce watched.

You get the idea.

So. Here is our starter sentence:

Eric complained.

Don't let me down. I love your creativity. *grin*

(And a note to my email subscribers: If you want to play, please remember to click on the blog link. If you reply to this email, your comment will NOT show up on the blog!)

55 comments:

Yunaleska said...

Why do I write?

My muse. She creates characters and conflicts out of nowhere, then sits on my shoulder encouraging them to all shout at once, poke me with a variety of implements (some without temperature control), and make my life uncomfortable until I put their story onto virtual paper. Life is never quiet.

Feywriter said...

My answer the last time I was asked "Why do you write?":

I want others to find the escape in my words as I found escape and comfort in books throughout my life. But even without readers, I need to write. I love it. I love the characters, and need to tell their story. The plotting and world building is so exciting. And nothing beats the feeling after a good session of writing, or reading something good thinking "I wrote that." It's a validation. That I'm working toward my dreams, and have something to share.

To add to that, I write fantasy because I love the world building, the magic. That escape into another world that's full of possibilities.

Feywriter said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence.

Lady Glamis said...

Why do I write? Like you, to be beloved. I like to entertain people. I want people to fall in love with my characters. I want to know that I'm darned good at one thing in my life... one thing that can be shared with lots and lots of people.

And I love to tell stories. Writing is my way to do it.


Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists

Scott said...

I write because writing makes me the All Powerful Oz. I have complete control over the characters and situations . . . at least I always think I do and then suddenly one of the characters goes loco . . .

For me, writing is a journey from beginning to middle to end, and then back to the beginning again with new characters/situations. I love to delve into the psyches of the characters - their motivations, their responses to different situations, the 'why they do what the heck they do'. I love to see where my characters might take me on any given day of writing. No matter my semi-careful outline, sometimes, a character just explodes into vibrancy and takes my writing in a decidedly unexpected direction.

In the end, I write for me to pour out the passions of my imagination. I write to release the frustration of life. I write because the words keep flowing, day after day . . . okay, sometimes the words don't flow, but when they do . . . MAGIC.

acpaul said...

I write because: the story is already there in my head regardless of what I do. It is a continuous, never-ending tale that, for me, tops many books and almost all television.

So why not write it down? It doesn't require much effort on my part. At least, until I have to start trying to revise my 200,000 word book 3 in a series of 7. Oh, make that 8.

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door

Ann E. Bryson said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door, while Cherry drank

Prairie Chicks Write Romance said...

I write because the twisted plots and schemes for murder might get me arrested if I had to exorcise them any other way. I love a mystery and putting the jigsaw puzzles pieces together to explain that mystery.

I write so the voices in my head will, if not leave, at least simmer down enough for me to go about my daily life.

Oh, my, both those reasons sound like the makings of a mad woman. Maybe I'll just add that I write because I love to - and although vague, that reason will not get me committed!

Eric complained with extremem vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door to hell.

Sarah Jensen said...

Why do I write? I wanted to be an actress for as long as I can remember. My cousin was going to show me to his agent when I was seventeen, and I was moving to Hollywood. Until God let me know that was not the road He wanted me to take. So I studied acting and dance in school. Lived to entertain on the stage or in front of a camera.

I got married, which I'm thankful for, and gave that life away. Oh, I still do community stuff behind the scenes, but unless it's giving a talk in church, I haven't been in front of a crowd in a while. At least not to act. I teach Sunday school to a bunch of kids each week. And trust me, there is acting and story telling to keep 13-15 year olds interested. ;)

I hadn't written since college until Aug. 07. It gave me back my make believe. But it's even better. I live the lives of all my characters, not just one. I don't chose what happens as much as I would sometimes like, but they are my creations. I also love to have others say that they relate to a character, or that something I wrote helped them. I want others to love my stories and learn and grow from them.

So I guess I write for the same reason many do, to be loved.

*
Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson

Authoress said...

Oops, we got 2 sentences back-to-back. This one came in 1 minute earlier:

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door, while Cherry drank

Sarah Jensen said...

LOL. So Authoress, what do you do with the sentence when three of us post at the exact same time?
:)

Authoress said...

LOL Yours came through as I was choosing the first one to post from above....I give up! Y'all can take care of yourselves. :D

Sarah Jensen said...

Heehee, okay,

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door, while Cherry drank her lemonaid

*
And Prairie Chick, Those reason are there for me too. Voice in head demand to be written. :)

Sarah Jensen said...

I just like posting with others. :)

Prairie Chicks Write Romance said...

Thanks, Sarah. I was a little worried when my murdering and imagined voices were followed by your disclosure of teaching Sunday School!

And as an ex-teacher - I bow down to your ability to keep 13-15 year olds entertained. Good on you!

Janet

Jarucia said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonaid and smiled

Jarucia said...

Why do I write?


Because I've always loved the idea and for most of my life I believed (thanks to a grade school teacher) that I had no business writing. I kept it to my journals and travel writings.

Two years ago I was womped with a significant personal event that left me devastated but mentally free to openly pursue what I'd long since denied myself.

I've been happily writing for others ever since.

Whatever I ultimately garner from this effort only time will tell. All I know is I love writing, I love what I write, and I love being involved with other writers :)

slhastings said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonaid and smiled her toothless grin...


LOL

beth said...

I think all humans have the urge to create. Actually...I think I am going to do a whole blog post on this topic. Lemme think on this a bit more.

***

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try...

disorderly said...

I think I write because it's the safest way to exercise repressed masochism...or is that sadism? Maybe it's both. ;-)

Seriously, I think I write because I'm insatiably curious. Fiction gives me an outlet for exploring some of those "what if?" questions that Just. Won't. Go. Away.

Authoress, I love your longing to be beloved. I think I just want not to be ignored. ;-)


Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor...

Sissy said...

I write because they just won't shut up and let me sleep!

When I was young I would dream poems. My mother insisted I start leaving pen and paper beside my bed and write them down as soon as they woke me up. I no longer do that so much - usually just get up and turn on the computer.

I also write because I love to entertain - especially children. And because I think I'm fairly good at it - as far as creating realistic characters and making sense of their stories - and in a grammatically correct form for the most part.

I may never snag that elusive publisher, or a to-die-for agent, for that matter, but I'm not giving it up.

ldpauling said...

Words and language are addictive. The desire to create is compelling. That about sums it up. :)

Sheila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ella144 said...

Why do I write?

Writing fulfills my latent goddess and dictatress tendencies. Yes, I want to take over the world and recreate it according to my world view. (Hey, who doesn’t?) Creating worlds, populating them with characters, and making things work out as I think they should is fun.

Writing is my craft. I can't paint, sculpt, or dance. I'm a mediocre musician and singer at best. But I can write. Whittling away at an idea until a story appears, then honing, sanding, and polishing until the story ceases to be words on a page and becomes art gives me great joy.

Writing feeds my insatiable curiosity. Since I started writing, my knowledge-base has expanded in directions I never imagined. Whether studying the political machinations involved in maintaining an empire or learning the finer points of whittling, I research more topics now than I did in school.

But mostly, I love stories and want to be a part of the storytelling tradition.

Sheila said...

Oops, I messed up, retry:

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the . . .

Esther Jade said...

Why do I write?

I write to channel my over-active imagination. If I don't write, it goes down fruitless avenues and I end up wasting massive amounts of time living in worlds that don't exist. Writing allows me to turn my tumultuous imagination into something I can actually use and also something with a standard so my imagination grows and develops in new directions.

Also, I like the challenge of always trying to improve. At the moment, I'm focusing on short stories and it's fun trying to make each one better than the last, have each one accomplish something different and flex new writing muscles. (Plus shorts make way more sense while doing a full-time masters.)

Kessa said...

I write for a couple of reasons. One - I am stubborn and determined to make this dream work, in spite of a persistent lack of confidence. (wry grin)
Secondly, the characters expect to be presented, the stories need to be told. It is an absolute rush to write words that bring them alive. Why would I not want to do this?
The trick is to get where I'll share it.

Trish said...

I write because I can. I left school at the age of fourteen because of uncontrollable circumstances. I couldn’t write or spell. I wrote memoirs about my childhood down on pieces of paper for years, then I bought a computer. Yey! Spell check and writers forums. I found Absolute Write and Critique Circle and I’ve written almost every day since then, thanks to some wonderful writers that helped me to learn commas and how to form a sentence.

I love to entertain children and adults in my writing. I’d love to be published, but I’m happy knowing that I’ve completed at least one of my ten chapter books. Writing helps me escape into another world when unforseen problems turn up. I can’t stop writing. It’s my addiction and I just love it. My characters evolve and make me write things that I hadn’t planned. I write to entertain myself as well as others and I can’t stop.

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, even though he never had any in the first place..

Trish said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the door, even though he never had any in the first place..

Sarah Jensen said...

Loving this sentence!!!
And Janet, if I don't write, I might strangle those precious 13-15 year olds. :)
I mean, really I'm an angel.

jerzegirl said...

I write to share my feelings, experiences, and perceptions of the world from the ordinary to the extraordinary. If you look around, there are stories everywhere, even in the minuet daily tasks. A child crying, a stray dog, or men riding a bicycle down a dirt road; what put them in their situation?

Writing is magic made possible with the imagination, pen, and paper.

inkspatters said...

Obviously I write because I love it, because there are characters in my head shouting for their story to be told. But I also write for THAT moment. That moment when you know your characters are no longer yours, they've taken on a life of their own. That moment when you finish your first draft and you think it's the most perfect thing in the world even though it's NOT. I write because there are so many moments along the way that are satisfying and inspiring.

Hope that made sense.

High Lord Drexthian, the Bold said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the door, even though he never had any in the first place, but wondering why he was standing knee deep in poo..

Authoress said...

High Lord Drexthian, the Bold! What a fabulous name. :)

Alps said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the door, even though he never had any in the first place, but wondering why he was standing knee deep in poo looking out over the long expanse of frigid water...

disorderly said...

Not trying to hog space or be a pest or anything, but I just ran across this quote and thought it so appropriate for this conversation:

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." George Orwell, 'Why I Write,' 1947

(Please don't ask why I was gadding about through other people's quotes instead of sitting at my keyboard, opening a vein and trying to create a few of my own. Suffice it to say I'm procrastinating. Again. **sigh**)

Sarah Jensen said...

and I'm reading here again disorderly as my own means of procrastination. :)
Love the quote btw!

jerzegirl said...

Erick complained excessively except on the rare occassion when the cat had his tongue.

bleeb said...

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the door, even though he never had any in the first place, but wondering why he was standing knee deep in poo looking out over the long expanse of frigid water...then he remembered where he was, he was mopping

Beth said...

I write because (as shallow as it sounds) it makes me feel good. I mean, after I've toiled and toiled, to look at the finished product and say, "Hey, I wrote that!"

Leatherdykeuk said...

I am the PR dept of Hell. I write, they give me cookies.

Writer205 said...

I write for money.

Luc2 said...

Hi, I haven't been active for some time, although I did lurk. This question got me out of my lair, and I gave it some thought, like you suggested.

Why do I write? I write because I can raise armies to fight my demons, build castles to guard my secrets, and dig holes to bury my fears. I create characters to travel to the exotic places I can’t go by myself, to gather riches I’ll never have and to encounter other people and beings which I’ll never meet by myself.

With writing I unleash the dragon from within, to tame him, to fly on his back over the world, and sometimes to slay him. Over and over again.

I write to distance myself from my everyday troubles, but also to help solve them. I create a certain distance, yet stay close to myself. When I write, I solve problems that I can’t seem to solve in real life, stand up to people who I normally follow slavishly, and prevail in situations which I’ve always avoided outside the written world.

I write so I can recapture wonderful moments of my life, as well as create moments I wished I had. I write about the good and bad in life, but in a different setting and with different consequences. Or not.

I write about a chaotic battle, and thus create order in my head. I create a scene where a character is tormented by storm and rain, enjoying the roof over my head. I let my MC put his feet up before a fire in the hearth, brandy in hand, and I relax myself.

Why do I write? Because these words on paper or computer screens are incantations which provide their own little moments of magic. The words are spells to give me pleasure and contentment, wards against whatever bad is out there.

I write despite the frustrations and pains of the process, and also because of them. Without them I would never truly appreciate the thrill of a well-crafted scene, the satisfaction of unearthing a nice little character trait or the pride in a perfect sentence (until the next revision).

Authoress said...

Luc! What a masterpiece.

Sarah Jensen said...

Okay, if this were a contest, Luc, you'd have my vote. And I have to say, you can write. And you write well. Thank you for putting so eloquently what many of us feel.
And yes, it is a masterpiece.

Merc said...

How else do I get to destroy the universe on multiple occasions and no one tries to sue me?

Sex Mahoney for President said...

I don't write anymore. I hired a Mexican immigrant to do it for me. Arturo's okay, a little wordy.

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the door, even though he never had any in the first place, but wondering why he was standing knee deep in poo looking out over the long expanse of frigid water...then he remembered where he was, he was mopping the floors in a Porn Shop/Abortion Clinic and standing six inches deep in the foulest...

Luc2 said...

Hi Authoress and Sarah,

Thank you! I was pondering the question and then had a rare outburst where I wrote it down in a few minutes. I may use it as a blog post for my own, almost defunct blog.

Authoress, thanks for being my muse here.

Sarah, thanks for the comments (here and on my blog).

Authoress said...

OOOOOOO!! I'm a muse? Really?? I hope I'm a tiny, beautiful thing with silvery wings who sits on your shoulder.

Would you mind if I posted your beautiful words into a regular post?

Yvonne said...

Since the sentence has gotten out of control shall we end it?

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the door, even though he never had any in the first place, but wondering why he was standing knee deep in poo looking out over the long expanse of frigid water...then he remembered where he was, he was mopping the floors in a Porn Shop and standing six inches deep in the foulest nightmare from which he awoke with a start.

Authoress said...

Thank you, Yvonne. :)

Yvonne said...

Oh! And yes, about your question Authoress,I write because writing is invigorating and stimulating and best done alone, and I like to be alone. I write poetry because it allows me to tell horrible truths, and I write fiction because it allows me to lie; it allows me to create characters I despise and characters I admire and they all do what I want them to do until they become unruly and then shock me with what they say and where they go and oh . . . the things they do!

Luc2 said...

Yes, you are. With silvery wings and all, and also a plumed red hat, of course.

Ehm, I decided to kick my butt into action and just posted it on my own blog. If that doesn't bother you, feel free. :-)

Laura Elliott said...

Why do I write?

The simple answer? Characters come a calling and they want to play. Deeper answer? I think every time I write a story I get to know myself and the world a little bit better.

Eric complained with extreme vehemence as he formed two fists and pummeled the door like Mike Tyson, while Cherry drank her lemonade and smiled her toothless grin, knowing that it would do Eric no good to even try blithely defending his honor, plus, he wasn't going anywhere, chained as he was to the door, even though he never had any in the first place, but wondering why he was standing knee deep in poo looking out over the long expanse of frigid water...then he remembered where he was, he was mopping the floors in a Porn Shop and standing six inches deep in the foulest nightmare from which he awoke with a start pondering the next time he'd recommend the hot coconut massage oil...

Michael said...

Why do I write? Sometimes I wonder, since success continues to elude me. But there's always hope that someday a child will pick up one of my books and find the same wonder and excitement I found as a child while reading the works of other, more talented writers.

Another reason is because I love to do it. I love getting to know my characters. And it's expecially exciting when, about halfway through the book, they start writing their own dialogue and I have to type as fast as I can just to keep up with what they're saying. It's like they take over and speak their own words with me not having to do anything but write it as they say it. It's magic when it happens, and I love being there with them and watching their story unfold.