Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why I Write Fiction

Someone asked me recently what got me into writing. The question stumped me. I said something about writing the stories I want to see in the world, etc. That's not my true reason though. My reason starts with Star Wars.

Stories and books (and legos*) crowded my childhood. Seeing Star Wars 4-6 was a big experience for me. It was the first story that made me feel something bigger. A call to be a hero fighting against the bad guys. The lightsabers and starships peppering the landscape were an added bonus.

According to Star Wars, there were lots of bad guys and evil and people who needed help. There was always another battle. That was the way life worked.

But anyone could be the one to save the world. Anyone can make a choice--choices are the only control we're given over life. That's how people worked.

I wanted to be one of the heroes. 

The empire and the rebellion showed what was possible and what was crucial when it came to heroism. It held essential facts, like:

  • Every hero has humble beginnings but dreams of being something bigger.
  • Developing your powers will be hard and painful.
  • Heroes always disobey their mentor at some point, discovering wisdom the hard way.
  • Bad guys can become good guys with the right motivation.
  • Sometimes mentors are wrong, and sometimes mentors lie.
  • Loss can make good guys decide to do bad things.
  • Every individual has a superpower, a skillset by which they get through life.
  • Every superpower has its drawbacks.
  • People who claim they don't care usually do.
  • Bad guys have friends too. People afraid to ask for help lose.
  • Victories require sacrifices.
  • There is always a point where strength runs out.
  • Family is powerful, even if you don't know who they are.
  • Each individual decides what kind of character they'll be.
  • Most importantly, good wins over evil.

Stories teach us the way of things. What I learned first in Star Wars helped me decide who I wanted to be and how to become her. There's no greater power than that.

Telling stories of my own was a natural next step.

I started creating Star Wars stories to see what happened if. Through those characters, I could experiment with the choices we make. It gave me a framework for boundless creativity. From there, it turned into a desire to tell those same types of stories to other people. What I gained I wanted to pass on. I wanted to inspire. I wanted to tell truths.

Yeah, Leia, that's how writing feels for most writers.

There were plenty of fandoms that played on my imagination through the years. The more I read, the more ideas I had. The wrappings of each story were beautiful and diverse. Yet the core of each story was the same.

Every book is a different facet of bigger things.

Stories get at the truth of us, but truth is an esoteric concept humans never fully understand. So there are always more stories to tell.

I write fantasy to turn the power I see in the world into legends and wonders. I can take the things we can't make sense of and make some sense of them. I can inspire readers with normal people like us who go on epic journeys. I can make something lovely about possibility and darkness, reflecting the things I've seen.

Star Wars remains the first story that inspired me. It gave voice to something deep in my programming and gave me terms by which to figure myself out. Now it's my turn to write that story for someone else.

Word count: 609.


* Mostly Star Wars sets, duh. By the way, if you're thinking all this was why I got so excited when The Force Awakens came out, you're probably right. Also the reason for my goal to watch it 16 times in 2016. It's only April and I've seen it 8 times, so that's not unrealistic.