Why We Write

Whenever you’re in an English class,¬†you’re always sitting in your seat – either half slumped over and sitting up like you have a telephone pole for a spin – but either way you’re listening, by choice or by accident. The teacher is droning on about what book your reading, and eventually the topic steers to this: Why did the author write this?

A lot of the time it relates to themes and purpose. In the case of Pride and Prejudice, people like to talk about big themes like marriage or wealth, manners or class. And, this is even a fault of mine when I wrote “Unaccomplished,” where society punishes people for not being the best at something.

But to muddle it down even further, we write for two purposes: a plot or a character.

To be honest, when I wrote “Unaccomplished,” I wrote for the plot. I could’ve probably changed my character’s name, gender, age, and it wouldn’t make too much of a difference. He feels real to me, but he’s not the focus of the story. The society is. Many other stories can follow this format, and you can tell when perspectives shift, when you have difficulty identifying a main character or aren’t aligned close to the character’s thoughts or feelings. These aren’t bad stories, but I think can be difficult to write since you’re playing with the “zoom on your camera.”

The other reason we write, which I write for 80% of the time, is for our characters. We get this character in our mind that feels alive and comes to life with feelings and thoughts, awareness and attitude. They’re your imaginary friends that never quite went away and are still peeking over your shoulder while you cook, eat, work all the while telling you, you’re doing it wrong. I think these stories can be the easiest to write because an author is a person. It’s easier to identify with another person that in a world or society that’s made up or different. Again, not saying this is bad, only natural.

I would keep this in mind when writing a story. Why did you invent this particular story? Are you more obsessed with the plot or your character? Remember this with your readers. We’re all human. Not all of us understand how to play god and can easily relate to a plot but will find it easier to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. So make sure to bring all your character’s to life. Not matter how big or small. It’s easier to read a story when we care about the people, even if we hate them for flicking their boogers on the back of our head while we’re riding the bus to work.

(Disclaimer: The previous writings were based on my opinions and experiences and feel free to disagree. Post a comment. Post your experiences. But, be kind and courteous to others.)

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