So why do I write?
I love movies. Love books. Love comic books/graphic novels. I love music, gaming, used to draw as a kid and will admire always a fine piece of art.
I love all kinds of creative story telling and imagination building.
But my first, main and uttermost desire is to write. I began when a kid. I drew scrappy pictures at first until their limitations on telling the whole story drove me to write. At one point – when very young, being the late developer I am – the only thing I was good at when at school was writing stories.
But I still love to sit around and read. I could watch movies all day. I’ve lost count of the hours playing games.
So what is it about writing that puts it above all the easier mediums to my imagination? Why do I want to write when I also love sharing in what others have created? It is a lot easier to do, takes up less of my time and is less stressful.
That, of course, is where those lack. They are easier because they are passive. I truly love some shows I have seen, some movies I have watched, and could view them over and over. I can lose myself in their worlds.
But it is their world. Their rules. It is never enough.
There was a time when I couldn’t watch something without creating a new character. I could watch a movie I had seen before but suddenly invent someone who would do different things. It got to the point where I was watching something, a movie I really enjoyed, and wasn’t really paying attention because I was lost in my own head. I wanted to change what I was seeing too much.
This still happens, but not as badly as it did then.
It kept happening so I took a breath, left my ideas alone and watched the movie.
But I can’t help it. No matter how good the movie or book is, I want to act. No one ever creates something the exact way I would and therefore it never pleases me.
So I write. I build my own worlds and populate them with my own characters. They act how I think they should. I want them to be their own person, live according to them, but I forge them, know what they will do, how they will act even in situations I have yet to invent for them, and then I release them.
I could watch a movie where characters talk too much and do little. Next thing you know, I have a character running around in my head who just gets shit done. Another time I read a book where too many characters are stupid. Now I have someone who is smart. I might put them in scenarios which mirror the stories they are from. But ultimately they will be my creations and will thrive in my stories. I have been in danger of writing homages, or anti-homages, often, yet I believe that when you create, no matter the influence, you need to make it your own. Take it from the inspiration, bring it to you, then send it off. I find characters who are copies of others from other things lacklustre. Like a wild animal now tamed in a zoo for the amusement of children.
I write because absorbing other people’s worlds was never enough for me. I learned to read late – again, late developer – but once I did, I read a lot. I watched all kinds of tv shows, many of which influenced me more than I knew for a long time. At some point, though, I had to do my own thing.
When I was in my teens I wrote a lot of stuff that was just copies of other things. They went nowhere, but I had to write something. I saw stories and characters, loved them, and felt a drive to make my own, no matter how weak they were in comparison.
In time I had more of an idea of what I wanted to write about and how I wanted to do it. Still, I loved the work of others, learned from them, was inspired by them. But I never read a book or watched a movie that made me go: that’s it, I will never match that, I give up.
I think I have some arrogant idea that I can outdo whoever else I read or watch, but more than that, it is just a simple desire to make my own.
I suspect a big part of this is that I am a control freak. I must control my environment as much as possible. It shows in my game play often, also in my real life.
When I create a world, I set the rules. I find ways to break the rules of every day life so I can be sure my way works, even when they shouldn’t. That’s why I love magic and science I think. Fantasy, horror and scifi have always been my main three addictions. Fantasy more in books, scifi more in movies. Horror in a lot of things. Create your own world, your own universe, set your rules how you want by bending, twisting or just ripping apart the laws of nature. Then you are in charge. Essentially, you are your own god.
It is an ego trip to write a story, decide who lives and dies, I admit. But still, there is more. If you write truly then you give a damn. You want your readers to care too. If you write in the purest sense of it then nothing you make is a throwaway item. This is your child.
It is also a form of expression. Characters of yours can voice your thoughts, views and passions in ways that you never can. You can even argue with yourself. Of course, you can create strawmen to argue with and win easily, inflating your own self-righteousness if you wish. Personally, I hate that. Characters should be able to argue on their own level, not with the creator loading blanks into one gun.
Possibly, then, there is a completeness in writing. You feel most like yourself. You can think and act how you please, make your puppets dance for you while also finding the puppets soon have their own steps. You breathe life and see your own initial ideas blossom into something much more. At times, you can truly feel as if you have begun something more than you, but it is still you. You set the rules, bring in the twists, challenge your own creations. Much like ancient gods are said to have done to their heroes.
I think for these reasons we can understand why writers feel such a strong bond. We do something that non-writers just can’t get. It can also explain why many of us are arrogant, insular and demanding. Does for myself.
In the end, it is a passion. Passion can mean suffering, but we love it. We think, we write, we perfect and are rarely happy with what we do. But we feel this need to do it. We love what we do. I can think of many logical explanations for my craving to create, but in the end I keep doing it because nothing makes me happier. I go into my world, whichever one that happens to be, and I don’t want to come out.
Maybe one day I won’t. 😛