I’ve been madly catching up now that I’m back from the Launch Pad Workshop and, as far as I’m concerned, all of my fellow graduates are heroes and heroines. Our days were long, and we talked about a lot of things above and beyond astronomy, and by the end my brain was so full I came home and talked with my SO for another four hours before falling face first into bed. It was awesome, and as distance passes I will continue to think fondly of all the wonderful science fiction writers who were there.
I was feeling off a bit, because I had to deal with a few immediate-and-not-so-stellar things right before that and didn’t have time to decompress. (Fun with being an introvert, eh?) Now that those things are (mostly) done and done, it’s allowed me to mull over what I started thinking about earlier this year. It’s a big’un, as they say in Firefly, because it deals with the reason why I want to tell stories.
Why do I? Seems fairly straightforward, doesn’t it? But what I found is that my answer changes depending upon what I’m writing. See, when I’m writing media/tie-in, I feel I’m a vessel, an incubator of new and existing ideas that writes to make fans happy, to make my publisher happy, to make the licensors happy. That level of satisfaction is what I use to gauge whether or not I’m doing my job well, and it’s something that is harder to assess in new relationships until the first release is out.
My original fiction is, and always has been, a different story because it’s affected by a great many things. It’s impacted by my repulsion of internet trolls, which led to me writing a story for Gods, Memes, and Monsters. It’s persuaded by my horror reading about historical atrocities, which led me to design “Queen of Crows”. It’s impacted by pop culture, too, to challenge myself to see if I could come up with a different type of [insert your flavor of big bad here], which is what led to “Tomorrow’s Precious Lambs”. It’s been something I could fit into my schedule, here and there, not knowing if there’ll be readers on the other side, too.
Ergo, most of my career thus far has been pursue opportunities to create spaces where my work is wanted, because I write best when I know someone is anxious to read my work. I’ve always written better when folks are excited, with the caveat that new folks still intimidate me a bit, but the key here is that I don’t write to prove anybody wrong or personal vengeance or any of that. For me, writing is joy, and I want to share that happiness with you.
When I realized that, when I finally remembered that the truly toxic folks are few, I understood why I wanted to write my original stories in the first place: so you, the reader, understands that you are not alone. If the point of fiction is to be able to see yourself in it, my goal as a writer is to ensure that I do that to the best of my ability, to cover all our human complexities and experiences. Knowing this, coupled with a lot of critical analysis of my stories, means I can write more confidently, because I know what I want/need/have to do.
It’s a great feeling.