WearyWinterWillowSo why do I write fiction?

Is it because, as Betsy Lerner, the author of The Forest for the Trees, An Editor’s Advice to Writers, claims, “the world doesn’t fully make sense until the writer has secured his version of it on the page.” Similarly, Anaïs Nin says “one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.” Gloria E. Anzaldúa is more specific; “By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it.” Flannery O’Connor mirrors this sentiment by saying, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Sounds rather high-minded to me. I don’t write for any of those reasons.

I think I have a pretty good “grasp” on reality, it “fully makes sense to me”, and frankly it’s a world I can live in. If I didn’t understand it how could I write about it? That’s not to say I don’t like learning about new things when I write, but I don’t have to create an illusionary world in which to escape.

One of the reasons I write is apparently the same reason George Orwell did, “There is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”

This is, however, secondary to the satisfaction, the sense of accomplishment and the sheer enjoyment I get from writing. And when the characters and story take control it’s like being the conduit linking me to an unexplored parallel world.

And what about the reader? Where do they factor in on the question “why do I write fiction?”

Yes, that connection is significant since once I’ve finished my novel then, and only then, it becomes more important to “get a hearing”. I want to draw their attention to issues vital to me and maybe even influence a decision or two. I also seek validation from the reader that I have entertained them while at the same time expressed something they relate to and feel is worthwhile.

So there you have it. The reasons I write fiction are for enjoyment, for edification and to influence my readers with my view on issues. Not for money and not for fame, which is a good thing because I’ll likely have neither.

Now that I’ve figured that out I feel a whole lot less frustrated.

I also finally understand why trying to involve readers in my writing doesn’t work for me. This technique is the latest mantra of book marketing gurus selling publishing success. You must establish a “relationship” with your readers, to what end I’m not sure, but now it doesn’t matter anyway.

Why? Because they have no influence over what I write.

Would I really change a plot line because a reader (or many readers – I should be so successful) wanted me to? Would I change the setting, the theme or the characters? Would I change the title? Would I change even a single word?


I am writing for myself not for an audience. Their approval is gratifying, but not essential.

I’ve already moved on.


My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

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Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.


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