Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why am I doing this Writing Stuff anyway?

This is a question many authors, especially unpublished authors ask
themselves often.

Why in the world do I spend my time writing stories that simply get
rejected by agents and publishers?

No one's going to read them, and those few people who do will not pay me.

Well...take heart. There's a reason for your writing.

And that simply is, in my opinion, Because the story had to come out!

Storytelling is the most ancient of arts and the most widely accepted
and enjoyed. From the ancients sitting around a fire and telling
stories of great deeds of their tribe, to families staring at an
electronic box with images of other peoples imagined lives,
storytelling is powerful and natural for us humans.

Frank Delaney treats this topic very well in his literary novel
"Ireland" (one of my all-time favourite books). The story is about an
old man who is among the last of the Irish traditional travelling oral
storytellers. He laments the fact that television and radio have
supplanted his art but vows to continue on regardless because the
story must be told.

If you are writing or storytelling for any other reason than to tell
the story, you're in for some disappointment in this business.

I have been making up stories for my children since they were old
enough to listen. Storytelling is in my make up.

When I started writing several years ago I had no intention of being
published. I was just bored on my job and had a story pop into my
mind so I wrote it down.

That became Karl's Last Flight. After several people read it as a
serialized story on they encouraged me to try and publish.
I tried and got a tonne of rejection form-letters.

When the "big sale" I had hoped for never materialized I discovered
podcasting and put the audio story out in free audio serial format.
That was amazing fun. Storytelling in the manner of the old time Frank Delaney's character.

In the middle of podcasting that another story came into my mind and
commanded to be written. It became 65 Below. As it finished and the
podcast moved forward on that one, a third came to mind and became
Faithful Warrior, which is now in production.

I now have three completed military-thriller novels, and a fourth in
outline and starting to come to paper already. None of them have sold.
Only a handful of agents have read partials and only two have looked
at the whole mss. But in the process,money or not, I have learned

I love story telling.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not the artsy-fartsy type who does art for
the sake of art. I want to make millions, sell movies, become the
next Clancy, Forsythe, and Follet all rolled together. But whether
that ever happens, I write because I love story telling.

The other night I was recording episodes of Faithful Warrior in my
studio (an 8x8 walk-in closet...great acoustic suppresion in there).
As I was recording I heard reactions to the story coming through the
wall. My ten year old was listening to me act out the book.

Suddenly my reading/acting took on a whole new energy. I had a live
audience. I was no longer just reading into a microphone...I was
telling someone a story.

Some day, my books will sell. An agent will come along and see the
value of what I've written and help me get paid for the work. It may
not be until I'm ready to retire in 20 years, but it will happen. I
am sure of it.

In the meantime, I will continue to work, and continue to write.
Because the story wants to be told. The muse won't stop whispering in
my ear, and her urgency pushes me forward.

Write because you love it, and the rewards will come...eventually.

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