I’ve often been asked why I write. My answer has not changed very much over the years. The why is simple: I was blessed with understanding words at a very young age, and at a very young age, I realized I didn’t want to just read stories, I wanted to tell them.
I wanted to create worlds of my own, place characters within them, and see what happened next. That’s right . . . I don’t always know what happens next. Sometimes, even I have to wait and see. That might sound strange coming from the creator of the story, but it’s not that strange if you think about it.
Let’s say a world in the form of a city gets created in a story. Characters from all walks of life get thrown in together. Some meet, some don’t. But each will have a life all their own, until they interact with someone else. Let’s take Joe, for example. Joe is a character in this story who once had dreams of being an astronaut. Joe had parents who weren’t very supportive of his dream. Joe had friends who didn’t dream of being astronauts. And, soon the dream Joe had became just that: a dream. His reality is that he’s an auto mechanic who works from sun-up to sun-down. And, yet, there’s just that little spark of the dream in him that refuses to die. He spends his days under vehicles that need repair but his mind is among the stars. He lives his life this way, day-in, day-out. Until he meets Khara. Khara is a refugee from the planet Dulac. She looks human, she acts human, but she’s not human. Hiding from a Dredulian Tracker, she ducks into Joe’s shop. He comes out from under a vehicle and sees her for the first time. He’s taken by her strange beauty and, when he learns the truth about her, by her plight. He wants to help her, but how? Soon, the Dredulian Tracker locates Khara and takes her into custody. She is to be transported to the rival planet Dredul where she will be put to death. How can Joe help? Let’s say Joe meets Khara’s uncle, Korad, who had been separated from Khara in a laser blast on Dulac. Korad has followed her trail to Earth and her signature to Joe’s shop. Now, Korad might have an ally in this battle and Joe might just learn to be an astronaut at the guidance of Korad. Joe gets his dream . . . and maybe the girl, too!
I wrote that just now with no plan at all in mind. I put characters together in a story and trusted them to figure it out. As I become each character, I am driven to write in their interests. For Joe, it’s to become an astronaut and, perhaps, to be free of his mundane and lonely existence. For Khara, it’s to be rescued and to be safe. For Korad, it’s to find and protect Khara. Perhaps, in the process, Joe and Khara form a bond before the Dredulian Tracker captures her. Joe would then be driven more by love than by desire to fulfill his dream. His dream then becomes secondary but it doesn’t stop being important to him. Characters change in personality and motivation very much the same way real-life people do. For the writer, it’s about committing to the story and the journey. If the writer can commit, the story usually writes itself.
Happy writing everyone!