Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Write? There Are No Stories In My Head!

"Why write?"  It's a common question among writers.  The answers are vast, but I hear a common one from several wordsmiths:
I write because I have stories in my head, trying to get out.
This bothers me.  It's not troubling in the sense that I think these writers are wrong.  I just wonder if I'm missing something.

The stories are there in a sense, I suppose.  I can track them find them (wherever they're hiding) and write them down.  While crafting a story, I've experienced the thrill of the story seeming to create itself.  Yet, until I sit down and figure out what to write, they're not bouncing around trying to get out.

Not really.  I have ideas, but that's not the same thing as stories.  One key to storytelling is to identify the good ones.  That, it seems, is the easy part.  Crafting that idea into a compelling story is the real work.

So why do I write?  This is not going to be an exhaustive list.  Nor is it a list.  You get one reason today, the closest equivalent I can find to the "stories in my head" reason.

I write because I love story.  Hmm.  No.  Let's call it Story.

Anybody here know who Grant Morrison is?  Ah yes, I see the comic book geek in the back with his hand raised.  At his best, he is one of the most creative writers ever in the comic book industry.  At his worst, he is infuriating to read because only he knows what's happening.

He wrote a fascinating book about his life and comic books.  In it (and it's been a while since I read it, so allow me to get it wrong) he describes the realm of story.  How it's out there, connecting all things fiction and true together.  And it's completely wacky too.

Yet, when I'm writing, and it's working, I can see where he's coming from.  Well, not the part about how the drugs helped.  But the part about Story.

I write, because I love Story.  And stories.  They are powerful, full of truth and intoxicating in their effect.  I write, in part mind you, to experience Story first hand.

Are the stories in my head?  I don't know.  I just know that I love looking for them.