Sunday, February 4, 2018

Writing Fiction: Why the Hell Are You Doing This?

Writing Fiction: Why the Hell Are You Doing This?

Writing Fiction: Why the Hell Are You Doing This?

Let’s be frank here.
It’s not for money. Much easier ways to make some dough than what a fiction writer has to go through.
This is the shift I’ve been finding as I work on this. My preferences until now have been to simply do research and figure things out. Questions I’ve had. Most of my life. And these are now mostly sorted out. So I needed a new challenge.
In the background, the secret to having a low-stress life is to get financial independence. One of the best ways to do this is through passive residual income. Also, pay off your debts and live within your means. Then increase those means. That’s where I’m at right now. Earn more income – as a challenge, not because I have to.
The hidden trick with this is all the mis-training we’ve been through about “Money.”
If you look up Earl Nightingale on this (his “Strangest Secret” book | podcast) then you’ll see that money’s just a symbol that stands for success. When you give great value, when you achieve success with that, people want to give back. Money is just a way of saying “thanks.” Success comes first, money follows.
It’s all about the value you want to give. How can you help people live better lives?
The simple answer: live life the best you can, and tell other people what you found.
That’s easy with non-fiction. (Especially blogs.) Fiction seems another scene entirely.
All writing works on Joy. Writing is also cathartic – meaning it makes you feel better after you’ve done it (or done enough of it.) Like exercising. Sure it’s rough to get going, but if you combine it with chores (like walking up and down hills in checking cows, out in the pasture a half-mile away) then you get the exercise you need. Otherwise, use your stair-master, or some home gym setup.
But back to writing: the point of both non-fiction and fiction writing is to enjoy what you are doing – at all times. Writing is a release. In non-fiction, like this, I can sit down and work out what is bothering me by just writing. Fiction is the same, only the characters and setting is made up – just based on the problems you are finding in your own life. So that is the deal – any decent story is character-context-problem, with three try/fail/succeed cycles along with their emotional outcome, and some “story is over” statement. Same stuff you’d put into an online essay, only it’s easier to understand.
I pulled out a NaNoWriMo novelette I’d finished in 2014, following my own advice to get all the old writing out and published. Turns out that it’s pretty good. I’m finding that all I have been studying is already present (more or less) in this book. (Could be better, but the next one will be.)
It showed me more about myself. And told me that I was right: you only get better with practice.
That book was written to get over the angst that made me quit everything out in L.A. where I’d been for a couple of decades, to move back to Missouri where things made far more sense. And the story is filled with all sorts of made-up characters that helped me tell my story.
Hopefully, I’ll get it published as a book today, and then start syndicating it on Wattpad shortly.
As I’m writing this, I have that story open in another monitor and proofing it. Again, not too bad.
So that pretty much answers my question. A writer writes to help others, through his own interpretation of life as he lives it. Each author is inviting us on his own journey. The characters, plots and settings are his interpreting life’s lessons into a format other people can readily accept.
You can see that in “Zen in the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury. He wrote about his relatives and associates visiting Mars. How they would react, what they would do there. Had a big hit.
In some cases, like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” you can tap into and fuel some minority viewpoint into a major meme that envelops a larger following. (Lincoln credited her with starting the Civil War.) There seems to be some of that trying to happen today, and maybe why we have tend to flip-flop party control of government in the U. S. Elect too-extreme a president and the next one will be as or more extreme in the other direction.
People always have a choice. Both fiction and non-fiction help people with their choices. By giving out information. Entertaining, educating, or inspiring.
This short post is then just me fitting into the new world I’m moving to. Like trying on a new outfit to see where it is too loose, or chafes or binds. Then adjusting it (or getting a different size) so it will fit OK.
Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep publishing.
Things will work out OK. Trust yourself, trust the process.
The trick is that this isn’t automatic. You’re going to have to learn to shift gears. That means practice. A lot of it. Meanwhile, you’ll wear the clutch a bit, and stall out at times.
So we’re back to square one. Ask yourself: “Why the hell am I doing this?”
Your answer may surprise you. (But probably not your readers – they love you the same no matter what. They just want more like what they read last time.)
So, thanks for listening.
And luck to us all.

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The post Writing Fiction: Why the Hell Are You Doing This? appeared first on Living Sensical.


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