Author Topic: What drives you to write?  (Read 14139 times)

Offline Wroclaw

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2012, 10:14:03 am »
I have more than one creative outlet, being an architectural designer. My handwritten drafts are sometimes interspersed with sketches of ideas for buildings I'm working on. I find the two help each other. When I'm active in one field, my output is better in the other too. I remember being told once that the program 3dMax ran better on a computer with a couple of other applications open at the same time. I've remembered that and wondered if the human mind might not operate on a similar basis. In other words, like everyone else above, my creativity comes in waves and builds up over days and weeks and needs some kind of outlet maybe at least once a month. It's like some kind of ethereal bodily function. Let's not pursue that analogy, or if we must, visualise semen rather than excrement!

But the big pretentious answer is:

The human world doesn't make sense to me a lot of the time. I write to try to make sense of it. It also often lacks hope and I write to try to rediscover that hope. I also write to try to uncover the wonders inside myself, to haul them out of the darkness into the light of day. I write in the hope of creating beauty that didn't exist before, and at its occasional best; the feeling is one of being a conduit for Nature itself. Creating things that needed to exist, that only needed you as a lightning rod. The feeling is often that you are not actually the creator at all, but doing it for some invisible other. This is what William Blake meant when he drew The Man Who Taught Blake Painting In His Dreams. Architecture is the same: a really good idea will often resemble a natural form, have its own interior logic and rightness, as if God abdicated years ago but left us here as his occasional auto-start-up maintenence robots...   :-* Maybe, just maybe, we can be even better than that...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 10:23:40 am by Wroclaw »

williemeikle

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2012, 04:50:26 pm »
Iíve been asked many times why I write what I do. Here's one I prepared earlier.

I choose to write mainly at the pulpy end of the market, populating my stories with monsters, myths, men who like a drink and a smoke, and more monsters. People who like this sort of thing like it.

Iíve also been criticised for it by people who donít get it. Willie Meikle isÖĒthe author of the most cliched, derivative drivel imaginableÖthe critical acclaim he receives from his peers is virtually non-existent.Ē is only one of the responses Iíve had.

Now, I donít write for the critical acclaim of my peers. I couldnít give a toss what other writers think of me. Iím writing for two reasonsÖ myself and a readership. Posterity, if there is one, can decide on whether itís any good or not. Besides, the harder I work at it making my writing accessible, the more readers I get, so Iím doing something right.

But thatís still not why I do it. My pat answer has always been the same. ďI like monsters.Ē

But it goes deeper than that

I write to escape.

I grew up on a West of Scotland council estate in a town where you were either unemployed or working in the steelworks, and sometimes both. Many of the townspeople led hard, miserable lifes of quiet, and sometimes not so quiet desperation. I was relatively lucky in that both my parents worked, but I spent a lot of time alone or at my grandparentís house.

My Granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean, Dennis Wheatley, Nigel Tranter, Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov. When you mix all that together with DC Comics, Tarzan, Gerry Anderson and Dr Who then, later on, Hammer and Universal movies on the BBC, you can see how the pulp became embedded in my psyche.

When I was at school these books and my guitar were all that kept me sane in a town that was going downhill fast. The steelworks shut and employment got worse. I -could- have started writing about that, but why bother? All I had to do was walk outside and Iíd get it slapped in my face. That horror was all too real.

So I took up my pen and wrote. At first it was song lyrics, designed (mostly unsuccessfully) to get me closer to girls.

I tried my hand at a few short stories but had no confidence in them and hid them away. And that was that for many years.

I didnít get the urge again until I was past thirty and trapped in a very boring job. My home town had continued to stagnate and, unless I wanted to spend my whole life drinking (something I was actively considering at the time), returning there wasnít an option.

As I said before, I write to escape.

My brain needed something, and writing gave it what was required. That point, back nearly twenty years ago, was like switching on an engine, one that has been running steadily ever since.

And most of the time, the things that engine chooses to give me to write are very pulpy.

I think you have to have grown up with pulp to -get- it. A lot of writers have been told that pulp=bad plotting and that you have to have deep psychological insight in your work for it to be valid. Theyíve also been told that pulp=bad writing, and they believe it. Whereas I remember the joy I got from early Moorcock, from Mickey Spillane and further back, A E Merritt and H Rider Haggard. Iíd love to have a chance to write a Tarzan, John Carter, Allan Quartermain, Mike Hammer or Conan novel, whereas a lot of writers I know would sniff and turn their noses up at the very thought of it.

I write to escape.

I havenít managed it yet, but Iím working on it

Offline Phil Lunt

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2012, 01:19:05 pm »
I remember being told once that the program 3dMax ran better on a computer with a couple of other applications open at the same time.

I hope you don't still believe this bit, though! ;D From someone who used to train people how to use 3ds Max for Autodesk, I can honestly say that this is a bit of a urban myth  ;)

Offline Wroclaw

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2012, 01:58:56 pm »

I hope you don't still believe this bit, though! ;D From someone who used to train people how to use 3ds Max for Autodesk, I can honestly say that this is a bit of a urban myth  ;)

Ahh yes, thanks for that clarification. It's little glitches in the world like that which trigger the mind to invent something interesting sometimes. It wasn't true of 3dMax but it IS true of the human mind. Reminds me of Nostradamus and 9/11. The original "prediction" was probably garbled generalised nonsense, but there are many books in print about it before 2001 stating clearly that they interpreted it as meaning there would be "an aerial attack on New York". The original material is less interesting than the group-conciousness which aggregated around it. Like sand in an oyster's shell, or an ink blott test.... but I digress!

Offline sandranorval

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2012, 02:41:34 pm »
Only just seen this thread, so sorry for being late to the party, but anyway...

I write fantasy because I have something to write. It's interesting the comments made about giving life to something as that is akin to how I feel. I 'meet' my characters in my head. They show me their worlds and sometimes those worlds and their lives are bumping around in there for a while before I actually sit down and write their story.

Sometimes I have to do research to get the understanding but invariably that research fills in the blanks between the key points that I've already been shown. I don't know whether my subconscious picks up information and I'm joining the dots or whether it's coming from somewhere else, but I do know that I come up with real world connections that I don't believe I could possibly have heard about and whilst the story was taking shape it is hanging on a framework of fact that was just waiting for me to find it.

OK, maybe that sounds like I am barking mad, but actually, if I didn't write then maybe I would be, because they would drive me insane with their tales and hints and images of places I've never been.

I guess what I'm trying to say is similar to what journalists say, their stories need to be told. The only difference is that a journalist is telling fact, while I am telling fiction.
Sandra Norval

Chapter One of Libertine available at www.sandranorval.co.uk
Also find me on facebook and twitter (@sandranorval and @enterthetwixt)

Offline Colin (Black Abyss)

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2012, 08:21:19 pm »
Quote
My Granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean, Dennis Wheatley, Nigel Tranter, Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov.

Willie, thanks for sharing that and great to see Nigel Tranter get a mention, I learned all my Scottish history from his books.

I write reviews because I wanted to let other people know about some of the amazing writing that I was finding tucked away on the outskirts of the furthest genre. I write fiction for the same reasons as Willie to escape, oh and to take issue with some of the people I meet in out not so friendly society, that's why I write horror.

Offline John DesPlaines

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2012, 03:44:06 pm »
I've found that I have to write in order to escape the horrors of reality.  Steve Pressfield (The War of Art) wrote that the desire to be solitary as a writer is not solitude at all, but rather, a good hang with one's characters.

I find that the characters I write are more interesting than people in real life.  That's not to say that I'm special or so talented that I can do something unique.  My point is, that in order to spend hundreds of hours on a novel or screenplay, your characters better be more interesting than real people.  I wouldn't want to spend hundreds of hours with any real person, since they'd drive me nuts.  You get the idea.

I don't have to make myself sit down and write these days.  I wake up early, and its the first thing I want to do, because if I check my email and read huffpost/cnn/drudge I want to shoot myself.

Way better to write. 


Offline cavscott

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2012, 12:01:51 am »
I find that the characters I write are more interesting than people in real life.  That's not to say that I'm special or so talented that I can do something unique.  My point is, that in order to spend hundreds of hours on a novel or screenplay, your characters better be more interesting than real people.  I wouldn't want to spend hundreds of hours with any real person, since they'd drive me nuts.  You get the idea.


I get exactly where you're coming from. You have to like what you're writing and who you're writing about.

Actually, like isn't the right word. I downright hate some of my characters. Nasty pieces of work. Can't wait to do them a mischief. The key, as you said, is that they must interest you, compel you to keep coming back to them.

And there's the other thing of course - if you get some of them right, you can live vicariously through them, do things you would never be able to do in real life, say things you would never be able to say, punching a few demons along the way...

Offline PTMayes

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2012, 07:12:20 pm »
Quite simply compulsion...

...and the desire to create things built of words: characters, worlds, cultures.

Should have become a banker. ;)


Offline mightyjoeyoung

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2012, 01:53:20 pm »
I began constructing stories before I was physically able to write, telling them to myself as escapism. When I was six years old I was fascinated by the little girl next door's 'Petite' typewriter, a pink plastic effort that actually typed real words on paper.

She let me use it because I would let her keep the stories afterwards. My first was a spider man story. Eventually I got my first typewriter, which was a tinplate one.


Several dozen machines later and I am still bashing out stories.

It has always been about escapism, releasing my demons. I would write entire novels then burn them, as it was something I did just to get the stuff out of my head. Our characters are distillations of humanity in all of its forms, and I love to play around with that.

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Offline CatChester

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2012, 10:10:16 pm »
I'm dyslexic, so I have never written with the intention of having my work lauded, or even read by others. Rather i was compelled to create stories, I think as an escape. Real life is hard and unfair. Stories don't have to be.

As I've grown older, I have also come to realise that I might be something of a control freak. I can't control real life, I can't make it fair or just, I can't will people to do the right thing, or cause them to feel the sting of justice when they don't.

In my books though, I am God! ::) No matter how hard my characters have it, they always survive, and eventually thrive. Sadly, real life wouldn't be nearly so kind to them.

Offline Mike Chinn

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2012, 09:11:35 am »
Someone once said something about writers should write the kind of stuff they would like to read. I guess that applies to me.

Of course - that begs the question: does anyone else want to to read the kind of stuff I would...?  ::)
Mike Chinn

Offline David A. Riley

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2012, 09:42:11 am »
Someone once said something about writers should write the kind of stuff they would like to read. I guess that applies to me.

Of course - that begs the question: does anyone else want to to read the kind of stuff I would...?  ::)

That's good advice, Mike. I know that if I start to write something and I get bored with it, I ditch it. I don't press on regardless. I'm sure most people who write stories are like that, though.

Offline Nyki Blatchley

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Re: What drives you to write?
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2012, 10:05:34 pm »
I write because it's never really occurred to me not to.  I started writing fiction when I learnt to write (I still have some stories I wrote when I was four) and before that I made up stories.  Writing's as natural as eating or drinking.