While talking to different people who are into fiction writing, I have recently stumbled upon a question that I ask each of them.
“Why are you writing this novel?” I ask.
And every time, the answers are different. Some writers do not have an answer. But I’ll try and quote the others from memory:
“I want to be published. I have published a few short stories, but that just not have the same impact.”
“If I had a choice, I wouldn’t. But there’s this deadline…”
“Because I think I can write one…”
A scattered few say:
” Because I can’t help it. The characters in my head won’t stop talking….”
“I care about what happened here, and I want to write so that the truth is out, once and for all….”
” This issue is close to my heart, and I’ve carried this story within me a long, long time….
I’m a reader for some of these writers and when I get their manuscripts in my hand, it is always the work of the latter category that keeps me reading to the last page. They aren’t always technically perfect, these works driven by passion or even obsession, but that can be corrected with the help of an editor.
I have come to believe that passion, more than knowledge of the craft, is what carries a novel with a reader, and makes him or her want to read on.
I’m not writing my novel, yet, but I’m sure I’ll ask myself the same question when I get to writing it. I’ll be sure to come out with my first, most spontaneous, honest answer, and then take a long, hard look at it.
So, why are you writing your novel?