Over the years, I've read many articles and listened to many talks about the job of a writer. Or the responsibility of a writer. I never really worried too much about those ideas, because I knew the job of a writer was to write the best story possible.
Now that my first book is out in the world—even if it's only been twenty-four hours— I've been considering my "job" with respect to people who pay money for, then read, my book.
- To deliver an engaging tale
- To deliver a message, be it social commentary, inspiration, or warning, in an engaging way
- To deserve our readers' time
- To offer value to our readers
- To offer hope
- To present possible solutions to life's problems
- To allow readers to escape from their lives for a few hours
- To open readers' eyes to other "things" in life
- To give readers a chance to laugh, or cry, or scream, or love
- To incite imagination or creativity
- To provide a safe environment for readers to feel emotions that might be unsafe in real life
- To provide tales paralleling a reader's life
- To show how to "go another way"
- To provide a reflective mirror for readers' thinking, behavior, and emotion
- To provide catharsis for the writer
This last option could begin a list of negative reasons to author a book. There are, no doubt, many. However we aren't going into things like "payback" because if you're here, reading this, you're interested in your craft, and I'm betting you're not writing for revenge or to bang some kind of drum.
There are those neophytes who are motivated purely by money and believe they can pound on their keyboards and, in the blink of an eye, produce a best seller. I'm betting this isn't you either.
If you are like me, you have a real connection to your characters and their stories. You write because you have to tell the story of the people who've taken up residence in your heart and your head. You want to share this most marvelous story with others. And your reasons for writing this story might include several of the above list and more.
Take a moment now to think about why you write. If suddenly, reading books went to zero popularity, how would that affect you—in the not so obvious ways? How would your inner fire for writing fare? If writing fiction became illegal, what would you risk to share your voice?
Such a scenario seems unlikely, except in speculative fiction stories. But stretching your thinking can help you find what fires your passion for writing. And knowing why you write, may just improve your writing. I know that dealing with my job as author was important for me during the revision process for P.R.I.S.M. I know that the final revision was better for the time I took to "figure out" my own backstory and why it was important for me to tell this particular story.
Next week on Wednesday, I'll dig into the nitty-gritty of the how-to techniques for the above bullet points.
What would you add to your writer job description?
Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.
Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong. She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight and pay bills.
A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand that their stories be told. Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow. Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard.
P.R.I.S.M., a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, lies, and love.