Why Do You Write Fiction?

Yesterday, author Lazarus Barnhill posted an article here on the Second Wind Blog about why he writes fiction. He wrote:

”When you write about a controversial issue, you don’t have to make it the center of your story to express it fully.  You just work it in.  For instance, when I wrote The Medicine People, I dealt a lot with the quiet underlying bigotry Native Americans and Western European descendants still harbor for one another but never express out loud.  And while it was essential to the story, it didn’t overwhelm the novel.  Stories have the power to make an issue live in the mind of the reader the way a speech never can.

“And the best thing about being a fiction writer is, you don’t have to brag to get your point across.  The best writer is one whose reader gets absolutely lost in the narrative.”

When I began writing, I had a lot to say about the way we are manipulated to suit the needs of big business and big government, and that theme underlies my first four novels. Though that theme was important to me, I tried to make the story even more important so as not to overwhelm the readers. I used up that theme, so I don’t know what I want to say in my future books, which is perhaps why I haven’t been able to write — I don’t know what I want to say, or rather, why I want to say it. I tried to write a story simply for the story’s sake, but that manuscript is stalled halfway through. I do have a theme for that — freedom vs. security vs. responsibility — but the book is not a thriller, has no mystery, is more of an apocalyptic allegory, which is something I would never read, so I don’t imagine anyone else would want to either. The point being, I write fiction because . . . Apparently I have no reason since I am not writing fiction at the moment. 

So, why do you write fiction? What is the best about being a fiction writer? What do you hope to accomplish with your writing? How do you make sure readers get lost in your fiction?

Let’s talk.

The Gather.com group No Whine, Just Champagne will meet for a live discussion about writing and the writing life on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 9:00pm ET. I hope you will stop by — it would be nice to see you. You can find the discussion by clicking here. If you can’t chat live, we can chat on this blog.

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Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own.More Deaths Than One was Bertram’s first novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are Daughter Am I and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.

1 Comment

Filed under books, Pat Bertram, writing

One response to “Why Do You Write Fiction?

  1. christinehusom

    Good question.

    I write to give my characters a voice. How will anyone know who they are if I don’t tell them?

    I write mystery thrillers because so many people, including me, like reading them. And my criminal justice background has given me a lot of ideas.

    My first goal with the mystery thrillers is to entertain, provide people with a good story and characters they care about. I do insert some of my basic beliefs, core values, but they are woven in, not the main focus.

    I know I will branch into others genres at some point. I have a small suitcase full of ideas and half-written manuscripts. And two completed romance novels that I may be able to revise. Or maybe not!

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