Writing makes zombies of us all. It's true! Don't believe me? Just check out today's guest blog from Faith Hunter about "The Six Best Reasons Why Writers Write." You ever seen an author with writer's blog? Now THAT'S scary!
January 2009 January 2010 forth. Jan. 2011
The Six Best Reasons Why Writers Write by Faith Hunter
Most writers can expound on this topic for several minutes, giving long and passionate reasons for writing, but I’ve discovered that most reasons come down to a few, which I cal the Best Six.
- The characters in their heads won’t shut up.
- The story keeps screaming to be told.
- They go a little crazy if they don’t write. (Get mean if they don’t write, whatever.)
- They neeeeed to write. It’s a sickness, a craving similar to what an alcoholic feels for his alcohol.
- They need the income that an established career has provided them.
- It’s better than working for a living. (Said facetiously because, believe me, writing is hard, stressful, deadline-based work.)
For me, the reason I write is a combination of several of the Six Best. If I don’t write I talk to myself. (See number three.) I get depressed. (See number three.) Then my characters start to talk to me. Out loud. And I talk back. (See numbers one and three.) Which makes me look a little crazy to others. (See numbers one, three, and four. And two. Yeah. Two is there too. Because the characters are talking to me about their problems and conflicts, which is what writing stories is all about.) And though I’m not at the top of the pay scale for writers (and though I do have a full time job already, for the benefits) I do need the income. And it’s better than taking a second job. So…well…I have all six reasons for writing running around inside me. And because I have written under pen names (each of them parts of my own name), I have multiples of the six best reasons for writing running around inside me. It gets a little crowded in here, especially when I am in *idea time*, that magical time between books when I can let go and come up with new characters and new plots and new conflicts. That short week or two off is when the future calls to me, and I get this dreamy look on my face and stare off into the distance. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to do anything or go anywhere. I just want to sit and stare and listen to the voices… Insane, crazy, whacked-out bliss, when all the Best Six are riding me hard.
I was in that Bliss State when Jane Yellowrock appeared to me. Luckily, my pal Kim Harrison was also in Bliss State one day when we met for tea at a local Starbucks. I won’t share what she came up with. Not fair at all. But I can tell you how Jane Yellowrock appeared to me that first time. We were near the end of our chat, and I was staring off into the distance (actually I was staring over the entrance to the restrooms, but it was an unfocused stare so that counts as distance) and Kim said, “What? Where are you?” (Because see, she has a version of the stare too. All writers do.)
I said, “I keep thinking about this line. ‘Katie’s Ladies, the oldest, still operating whore house in New Orleans.’ I can’t get it out of my head.”
Kim sat back. “Go with it.”
“Okay. I see this Cherokee woman who kills vamps for a living. And Katie hires her to kill off a vamp who has gone crazy. And Katie is a vamp herself. And the whore house caters to vamps. Literally. As blood meals and sexual partners…” And then I drifted off again.
We parted, with Kim saying, “Keep me informed about that Cherokee character. She sounds interesting.”
Later that night, alone in a hot bath with aromatic bath salts and candles, the light dancing on the rising currents, the Cherokee woman character (who was, by then, called Jane Doe) started talking to me. She shared her past and her hopes and the deep sadness that rests inside her. She told me she wandered out of the woods at age twelve, with no memory of her history. For Jane, her life started that day, at age twelve. And she told me could take on the shape of a mountain lion. Jane Doe was a skinwalker… We shared who she might become and how she made a living, and who she might like to have as a romantic interest. I liked this woman!
We talked until the water got cold and my skin looked like raisons. And for the next few weeks I was in Best Six world. Yeah. I have a lot of reasons to write. A lot!