Monday, May 2, 2011

Ashed, And Why We Write

I haven't written a post for ages - and the reason is not that I forgot, or that I've been too busy, the reason is that I've been putting it off. I've been putting it off because over the last few weeks I've had to make a decision, and it's one that I know a lot of you won't like. ...

... I've decided to stop writing Ashed.

Please refrain from getting out your rotten tomatoes yet. To help explain, I'd like to show you the single best guide to writing a novel that I have ever come across. While this video is titled How to Write a Book, it also gives insight into why to write a book. It doesn't contain any practical tips, but it's truthful and inspiring. Just watch:

The main message of this video is that to write a novel you must simply fall in love with a story - because if you do that, then you'll be willing to learn the skills, develop the talent, and persevere until you have a finished novel. In Kaleb Nation's words, if you love the story, you'll "do whatever it takes to make it work, and turn that idea into a book." If that involves years and years of work and of learning how to master your craft, then so be it. 

So here's how Kaleb hits two birds with one stone, without even trying:
  • How do you write a novel? You fall in love with the story.
  • Why do you write a novel? Because you love the story.
And when writing Ashed started to become a chore a few weeks ago, when I was feeling less interested in or motivated to write the story, I remembered this video. I asked myself why I was writing Ashed.

And everything became suddenly clear. I wasn't writing Ashed because it was the story I had fallen in love with. I was writing it to get more followers on my blog. And while I'm confident that it would have brought in new followers, it's more important that I write for the right reasons.

And I'm not saying I don't like the story - I just don't love it. I think it has a great premise, and I had an amazing idea for the ending in mind. But while I was writing about Lexus, I found myself often dreaming about Zeth, and longing to write about him instead. For those of you who don't know who Zeth is, he's the hero of the novel I write in that sheltered writing room away from the rest of the world. He's the hero of the story most people don't hear very much about. But he's also the hero of the story I love, and the story I'm willing to put years and years of effort into.

And as long as I'm writing Ashed, both it and my main novel will be half-hearted efforts.

So I made a tough decision. I may yet finish Ashed. But don't count on it. For now, I'm focussing all my attention back on Zeth's story.

Remember, write because you love to write. Write stories because you love those stories. Make those your only reasons. I guarantee you'll regret it otherwise.

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