Why do you write?
Now that’s the question and for me the answer is simple — because I can not NOT write. I have to do it. I have to and I always have and I think I always will.
Is is that way for you?
As a kid I spend hours either pored over a book reading or pored over a notebook writing, one or the other and I also loved and still love TV and movies. It’s like I spend most of my life in another reality, and a good deal of that is a reality of my own creation, where I get to play God! Oh the power…. wrings hands, practises mirthless laugh … Maybe there’s some complex psychology going on there. In a world where much of our destiny is out of our hands and where we have only limited control, in the fictional, anything is possible — right? I have all the control.
*Pause for evil laugh*
Or do I? Do I really have control? Do any of us?
What is this force that comes in and makes phones ring at the end of scenes, or strangers appear in crowded cafés with some garbled message. Or the unexpected death of a key character? This is what happens to me as I write, as if something within (the reader who has read enough stories to know what’s needed even if I don’t know I know it) throws the story off in another direction, like a rocket that thinks its spinning in a centripetal loop starts spiralling off in a whole other direction. And I have to say almost without exception because the story needed it. So what often appears random might well be at the mercy of my unconscious mind — which is a scary, but at the same time, exciting thought. Who is really in control? Who controls the sub or un – conscious me?
Is there a fictional God or ‘God being’ in fictional worlds too? One that makes sure the surprises keep coming to keep not only the reader on their toes but it seems the writer too. If it surprises me, then it sure to surprise the reader.
I love these moments of magical intervention when the fictional God speaks. Do you have those?
This weekend I have been reading lots, so by the time I go to Hay on Friday I will have read 4 of the 5 Commonwealth Short-listed books (couldn’t get the 5th in time — bet that wins! Sod’s Law!) and the short stories that won the regions will be on the Granta website a story a day from today kicking off with Europe and Canada regional winner Eliza Robertson, so I really want to read them all, and especially Eliza’s who mine and one other story were up against for the title!!! This is the link GRANTA
And as I’ve been reading I have all sorts of new ideas for novels (nothing like the ones I’ve been reading by the way) swimming in my head. I think the more we read and the more we write, the more creative we become. I love it. I did once follow this idea of keeping a notebook by the bed for the rare times I dream great opening lines or even whole ideas. I think about when Barry Manilow says he wrote his iconic ‘One Voice’ song in a dream. Well, when I have managed to find the pen in my half awake state and write something — that at the time is the best thing I ever wrote and sure to be my break out novel, it turned out to be nothing more than illegible, up the sides of the paper nonsense in the light of day. Ah well. It seemed good at the time. Maybe this is when the ‘God Being’ of fiction speaks to me, like that possessed writing thing, channelling some spirit I have seen psychics do. But it doesn’t work well for me. In my fictional life I am not a channeller when asleep. But when I’m awake them all sorts speak to me!
I like to think there is some force that keeps me having ideas and keeps we writing them (when awake!) and keeps me learning how to do it better. And if there is a God Being of Fiction then I quite like that. But it also means we don’t really control anything! Do we?
Ah well …
Today I will be continuing with the edits of While No One Was Watching and then copy-editing another book for the publisher I work for … not what some might be doing on a wet bank holiday. But I’m as happy as a pig in … well you know.
Have a great day everyone and remember to send me something for Fiction Clinic if you want to. Nothing yet …