I’ve been publishing posts as part of my blog series ‘A Key to a Great Story‘ for several months now, and I have now come to the end of my series with my final post – Why write?
There are many reasons why you might be writing your story: you find writing relaxing and enjoy doing it (I hope); you have a specific message that you want to convey to the world; or you have a special set of skills that you want to share with the world.
I write because I have characters in my head whose stories are screaming out to be told. I absolutely love bringing my characters to life and creating their world in words. I write because I want to get to know these people better and develop them. I want others to know them as well, as if they were real life people I know and want to introduce around.
I write and I try to write well because I don’t want to disappoint my characters by doing a bad job in trying to convey them to the world.
There’s no specific advice that I can give about why you should write; only you can know that for absolutely certain.
However, you do need to know why because why you write is one of the most important things you have in your arsenal of skills as a writer. Writing is tough, but if you know why you write and you can use that passion to motivate and push yourself to do it better and better.
The premise of the entire series has come from a quote from the James Bond ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ villain Elliot Carver – “The Key to a Great Story is not who or what, or when but why.” In many ways I agree with this quote; why is the most important question that a writer needs to ask themselves. Why are you writing? Once you figure that out you are good to go, because then you have your motivation.
However, when it comes to considering the audience you can’t just think about yourself. I admit I write the books that I want to read with characters that I love a great deal. However, I also want others to love them. In truth while I am writing for myself and I use that to motivate myself, I am also writing for others, even if I haven’t yet managed to garner myself an audience for my fiction.
But I do have that in the back of my mind; if you are aiming to write for others your own motivation is not enough. If you are writing for example purely to get across an important message that you feel the world needs to reflect upon, for example gender equality or the lack of it, you can’t just assume that your passion about that subject will be the reason why your audience will engage with your writing.
To truly get people to engage you do need to develop the characters (who), the story (what), the story world (where and when) and to consider the methods you’ll use to convey the message (how). The ‘why’ on its own is not enough to engage an audience, you need them to fall in love with your characters and their story; through that the audience can reflect on your message.
So in conclusion, you need to find out your motivation and why you are writing, but you also need to know your who, what, where, when and how, and through those you can help your audience engage with your ‘why’, whether it be a specific message or just your passion for the stories you are telling.
It has been a pleasure writing this blog series – I have plans for developing further posts in the future going into more depth about certain aspects of writing and how I approach it, but in the meanwhile you can access quick links to all of the concepts I have discussed via ‘The Key to a Great Story‘ webpage.
Good luck with your writing!