I Owe It to Them

Writing is incredibly difficult.

There are many days when I sit back and just wonder why I do it. Deep into the darkness of my soul, in the spot where I periodically question the meaning of life, drifts the question of why, exactly, I’m doing this.

It’s a valid question. What I’m doing really doesn’t make a lot of sense, when you think about it. I’ve been working on this particular story for approximately eight years, if you count that short story that got it all started my sophomore year of college. I’m on draft six of book one of a trilogy, with nothing on the other books but a lot of brainstorms. I do not write fast, I am not very good at making time to write, and I think in long, sprawling, epic plotlines. There is no end in sight, and I’m not too likely to have large spans of open time to spend on it. To make it worse, I really do want to finish it. I want to get it published someday.

I have a lifetime of work ahead of me. And that’s not counting the prequel to the trilogy or the completely unrelated sci-fi series that’s sprung up in an untended corner of my mind.

So I periodically must ask myself why I embrace this particular form of madness.

I would love to say that it’s because the world needs my stories because of the deep and powerful themes that run through them. I would love to say that I must write because it’s a divine calling. And while I wouldn’t doubt that those things are marginally true, the real reason I keep coming back to the story, despite the pointlessly long road ahead, is my characters.

Just thinking of them makes me happy. Selva the warrior-princess-politician, with her misguided passions that I understand so well. Hob, with his mind of an engineer, and trust of a child. Quynn with his noble ideals that send him crashing from the stars into the depths of evil. Gunther, with his cynical smile and will of iron. Nia, whom life crushed and left by the side of the road, but whom hope found again. Dar-Jabin, the rascal with no morals who made Nia’s happy ending possible. Dane, my bright-eyed scientist girl who cared so selflessly that it nearly destroyed her mind.

Yes, I love them, the messy darlings. I love them like the very real people they are. And, since it’s not THEIR fault that I’m working two jobs and have needy friends and have to eat and sleep, it’s really not fair of me to deprive them of the fantastic stories they deserve.

So, hobbit-like, I will keep pressing on through swamps and over mountains, through dark spider-infested forests and abandoned mines, for really the same fundamental reason that I do most of the other unreasonable things I do: on behalf of people I care about. No matter that these people are fictional. I’ll keep writing till they have stories worth sharing. I owe it to them.

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