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Thread: Most satisfying part of writing/why you do it? (answered)

  1. #1
    The Scarlet Harlot Apryl's Avatar
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    Default Most satisfying part of writing/why you do it? (answered)

    As someone who doesn't (translate that as can't) write, I was wondering, what the most satisfying part about writing a book. Is it getting your readers to see and feel what you want them to? Hearing their responses? Simply getting the story out of your head and down on paper, regardless of what anyone else thinks? The fame of being a published author? Or is it something completely different? I have always wanted to know the answer to this. I know why I read, to be entertained, to lose myself for a few hours, and to simply escape my real life. But what makes an author write? I know it's not the money, cuz most authors start out supporting themselves some other way, and lots don't ever make it to the point that their writing can support them. So what are you looking for when you finish a book?


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    Default The long rambling answer and possibly more than you ever wanted to know...

    Interesting question, Apryl. I haven’t had my coffee yet (I slept in late this morning) so you’re getting the long, rambling answer. I started writing because:

    a) life inside my head was more interesting than life outside my head
    b) I was quite certain it would be less emotionally risky and more controllable than men
    c) I was freshly divorced and figured I had better odds of success at writing a book than trying my hand at another relationship.

    Since I‘ve become a published author I‘ve learned that little of the above is true.

    While life inside my head remains more interesting, and I suspect always will or I’ll stop writing and get busy living, I rarely manage to exert significant control over any portion of the publishing process other than actually telling the story. I’ve learned everything that can go wrong usually does, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

    Also, I don‘t know what delusional fantasy I was living in, but, writing a book is extremely emotionally risky. You pour yourself into it and put it out there and--while failure in a relationship typically results in a separation with the wounded parties slinking (or running) in opposite directions and people you thought you knew saying derogatory things about you but certainly not publishing detailed, scathing evaluations of your performance or lack thereof on the internet--writing a book people don’t like (and no matter what you write, there will be people who don‘t like it) often results in public humiliation, and having your Grandma call you to ask what “phoning it in“ means and if you really laugh all the way to the bank. (I assure you, I never have. I don’t know a writer out there that doesn’t feel deeply morally obligated to write the best book they can. As with any job, there are deaths in the family, and illnesses, etc., and occasionally the book isn’t as good as it might have been under ideal circumstances but none of us live in ideal circumstances.)

    And don’t let anyone kid you, even when a book gets downloaded into your brain like the Fever series, writing a book IS as hard as having relationships.

    So I was wrong on all counts. Good thing I didn’t know that then or I might never have tried.

    Definitely didn’t pursue it for money or fame. I’ve said in an interview somewhere that I had modest aspirations (in retrospect, at the time, they seemed high.) I hoped to one day make at least $50,000 a year so I could afford to pay my mortgage, all my bills and still have a bit of money left over. The idea of being able to do nothing but write all day seemed reward enough.. I figured I’d make a decent living in five or ten years.

    Wrong. My first book sold hundreds of thousands of copies. My fourth (Kiss of the Highlander) debuted on the New York Times.

    Fame? When I was growing up there were very few famous authors, no internet, and book tours were rare. I thought, being a basic loner and hermit type, writing was the perfect job for me. I’d never have to leave home. My sore lack of social graces would never be discovered. I‘d never have to wear pantyhose to work in 95 degree weather. (By the way, men would never put up with that.)

    Wrong again.

    So was I right about anything? Am I even answering your question? LOL.

    Despite being right about virtually nothing I assumed about writing, the most satisfying part about writing a book is--all of it. It’s the most wonderful thing in the world to be able to do what I love to do for a living. I wish everyone had the privilege. And it is a privilege from beginning to end.

    From the moment of inspiration, to that moment I finish a book and realize that I managed to say what I wanted to say, that I took the world inside my head and put it down on paper with painstaking care and managed to capture some degree of depth, character and cohesion, to giving it to my editor and having her deem it “transcendent” (that‘s what she says about Faefever!) to finally getting to hold the first copy in my hands, to having readers like you totally “get” it (and you ladies don’t miss a trick!) being able to tell stories for a living is the greatest blessing of my life. I write therefore I am. LOL.

    As for what I’m looking for when I finish writing a book, it’s probably the same thing you’re looking for when you finish reading whatever you‘re reading.

    The next story.

  3. #3
    The Devil squarepegroundhole's Avatar
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    Karen, that was a lovely answer to a very difficult question! I understand the hermit aspect, as I have a lack of social graces as well!
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    General of the Cruce-Aid Viking Princess's Avatar
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    Karen, WOW! lol, well we are certainly glad you kept on keeping on with the writing even though it was different from your expectations.

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    The Scarlet Harlot Apryl's Avatar
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    First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer my question. It was a wonderful answer, and yes I got the answer I was looking for.

    Second.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Marie View Post
    ...having her deem it “transcendent” (that‘s what she says about Faefever!)....
    OMG your editor, who reads hundreds and hundreds of books called it "transcendent"? It must be amazing! And if that's how she feels, HOW can your publisher make us wait till the end of September?!?!? It's all so unfair!
    Last edited by Apryl; 04-27-2008 at 06:04 PM.

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    Grrr... Shewolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Marie View Post
    ...to having readers like you totally “get” it (and you ladies don’t miss a trick!)...
    Hmm... so this means we're not that far off with some of our theories...?

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    Coeur de Gaël stormsandsins's Avatar
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    Muhaha, excellent!
    *rubs hands together*


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    Maniac Ra!nbow G!rl's Avatar
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    Life inside one's head is always better than life outside the head. :)

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