Why We Write

In all my years spent reading, I have always been drawn to fiction.  My sister loves to read anything and everything, from history to psychology to autobiographies.  I read such books for school, of course, and occasionally for fun, but I always, always go back to fiction.  And for most of my life, I never really knew why that was.  After all, non-fiction is fascinating.  It’s true.  It’s relevant.

But the cool thing about fiction, I realized one day while discussing our varied taste in reading material with my sister, is that it is a world of the writer’s own creation.  Authors of fiction could write anything, and yet they chose to right that particular book.  Those stories and characters would not exist were it not for the author’s decision to write them.  That makes each fiction book, at least in my opinion, something very, very remarkable.

What is it then, I wondered, that inspires us to write the stories that we write?  Why do some write about witches and vampires and the supernatural while others go for historical fiction or fantasy of sci-fi?  I think the simple answer to that is that we write the books that we want to read.  At least, that’s what I’ve always done.  But I think we also write because, in a weird way, these stories need to exist.  I can’t say for certain that fictional stories make the world a better place, but they certainly make my world a better place.  There are moments in my past that were only tolerable because I was able to lose myself in a book.  It was just like magic.  The real world with all its problems suddenly didn’t exist anymore.  Only this new story existed, and it was more important to me than just about anything.  And I try my best to access that same source of magic whenever I write a new book.

Why do you write what you write?