Why do I write?

I have been asked why I started writing at the age of 62. It is a peculiar time of life to start writing, particularly when it appears that I write YA or slightly younger type fantasies. It is easier to explain why I write books for a slightly younger audience than it is to explain why I write at all.

I write by the seat of my pants, as the jargon goes, which means I write without carefully plotting out my story, developing my characters, plan subplots and the like. I just start writing and see where it takes me. I am aided by my partners in crime, the characters whose stories I tell. They give them to me, from multiple viewpoints, and I figure out how to write the scene. The characters talk to me and in fact live in my head. They won’t tell me the whole story until I have written a fair amount of it. They are skeptical that I will finish the story if I know the ending too soon. My characters tend to come from worlds where courtesy is important and there is little to no cursing, minimal violence, and a great desire to get along. The stories arise when something challenges these things.

I started writing when I finally had an idea that was not derivative. While I was working and wanting to write, every thought I had was born of an unseemly match of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, or whatever the equivalent was over the last twenty years. But I retired, got my head out of the legal/governmental field where logic and plain talk were prized above all and relaxed. In that state, I had an idea that popped out of nowhere, and began to grow before my eyes. I started writing. It was shortly thereafter that I found that my awakening was due to a character who needed to have her story told. That character is named Freddy, and I may tell you a little bit about her in another post.

4 thoughts on “Why do I write?

  1. bhalsop Post author

    Ann, don’t mess with my head. And actually I know all of Freddy’s story because I wrote it in the first draft. My writers workshop told me to can it, but it might make its own book someday!

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  2. FairytaleFeminista

    I know what you mean about your characters telling you the story in their own time. I’m on my fourth book in a YA fantasy series (the last book of the series) and even though I think I know how it ends, my main character keeps asserting herself and telling me I’m wrong. As for waiting to write until after you retire, I completely understand considering your profession. My biggest hurdle after leaving government work was learning to elaborate. Being succinct becomes so ingrained that you forget there’s another way to convey thought. Congrats!

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  3. bhalsop Post author

    Thanks! My characters want me to write a sequel, but I’ve already started a new book on another world. And the next book in the characters’ world is going to be a way back prequel, thousands of years earlier. When people ask me about my muse, I tell them I don’t have one, I have a house party of characters in my head, and they tell me when I have a story to write!

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