I enjoy writing stories (obviously!) but why?
It is often a question which plagues new writers (and some seasoned ones). It is a question I was asked a lot when I first started out, and now that I am starting my MA I have been asked the question again.
It is not out of incredulity: ‘Why on earth do you want to write stories?!’ – it is usually asked by teachers and other writers because once you have got to the root of WHY you are writing something, the whole journey can become a lot clearer.
Not just for your career, but for each and every piece of writing.
With my last story ‘Gretel’ I set out with a clear message in mind, I new that was why I was writing the story and every time I veered off that track I was able to go back to that core message and bring the story back to where I knew it should be going.
My current project is a follow up to ‘Gretel’ in that it is another reworking of a fairytale - although this time it is the more obscure Nordic tale of ‘Lorelei’ - and exactly the same thing has happened!
I initially set out with a very clear message in mind, a moral if you will, and as I have written the story I have been dragged about in different directions and allowed myself to go on tangents.
I won’t be too hard on myself, because I know from experience that tangents can turn out to be exactly the path you need to take, and so they are worthwhile pursuing. But as I review and edit the first draft, I have found it helpful to ask myself at each chapter ‘What is the meaning of this? What is it saying?’ because I am discovering that although I set out to make one point, in some cases I have started to make another.
Luckily, because I set out with a clear message in mind, it will only take a few subtle changes here and there to bring the whole story into alignment, but I think it shows that it is always worth asking yourself, why am I writing this?