Why I Write

I write fiction first and foremost because I love stories. I love characters and narratives and the experience of getting lost in stories. I was a reader before I was a writer (not much before, but still before), and I am still a reader.

I write fiction because I want to be a writer. I think a good writer is like a soothsayer, a sage in the modern world. Writers who can make those stories that break open our hearts, show us another world, an idea we could never have imagined, who expand our ability to think and feel, those writers are rare and special. They are a treasure. I can’t imagine anything greater than being a writer like that. (In spite of my ego, I don’t think I’m a great writer. I think I’m a competent writer who shows occasional flashes of excellence, but I’m always trying to get better.)

I write science fiction and fantasy and horror and magical realism because I love the idea of making another world, another culture, another history and language. I fell in love with stories through science fiction and fantasy, and to me one of the great joys of reading is to experience another world, whether that be a future that’s foreseeable or another world where the strangest things are normal.

I write about coming of age and identity. This wasn’t intentional. It was a trend I began to notice in my own stories over a period of years. I write about characters undergoing a profound event and in the process facing something within themselves and struggling to overcome it. I write about young people on the cusp of adulthood, or young adults on the cusp of middle age. I guess there is something in these transitional moments that speaks to me of the transition points in my own life.

I write because I love it, and because I can’t not. Writing gives me a sense of purpose and a sense of accomplishment when I do it, even if the writing is bad. Not writing for an extended period of time leaves me with a vague sense of frustration and emptiness. I become irritable, easily bored, and I question the purpose of my life. The answer, when I feel this way, is almost always to start writing again.