I’m often ask about why writers become authors (or wantabe authors). Usually the question comes from someone who wants to see their name on a book cover. There are more wantabes than trees in the forest. I tell them to read a book a week… or if that’s too much … a book a month from the genre that interests them. I give them the names of profession magazines on writing they should read. They don’t.
Decades ago, Jane White, a fine writer, told me about the necessity of reading. Like an amateur, I discounted her instruction. A decade later, I realize what a mistake I had made and got serous. Not only does reading other writers keep one current, reading nourishes the imagination. Sorry. You have to turn the TV off more often. Besides the rich benefits of exciting your mind, the imagination remains one of the finest tools you have insight and personal development. Reading puts a match to your thoughts and a blaze ignites in your mind. If you don’t want to read, don’t wast your time writing.
I’ve found amateurs don’t usually respond to anything I tell them as they’re not really interested in being a pro … just a person with their name on a book. Of course, that’s more than a little irritating becuase their interest and concern is not in the same ball park with genuine authors. But the question of a writer’s motivation remains highly interesting.
In The Assassins, my personal interest centered around Vladimir Putin. I find him to be a truly scary guy. A former KGB agent, Putin knows the dark side of the political world as well as any assassin out there. Would he send three assassins to the USA on a mission like I describe in the book. Yeah. I think he would. And so the story begins.
To put my answer in a more didactic form, writers usually are motivated by some interest that has captivated their imagination. Sometimes , it is exploring motivation or it could be working through a personal problem or issue by allowing self-created characters to take one with them on their journeys. After all, your characters can do things that you’ve never done and allow you to experience adventures you’ve never had.
Books on writing always tell you write about what you have experienced, not issues you’ve never explored. Well, yes and no. Certainly that’s good advice, but you can research countries you’ve never visited and write on dragons you’ve never met. Think through what age and variety of audience you want to reach and take them on a trip with you to Shangi-la. Lost Horizons can become new horizons.
To become a true or better author, read widely. Go back in time to some book like A.J. Cron in’s Keys to The Kingdom of even Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Sure they’re old, but the style, the content, the description are extraordinary. I like Daniel Silva for contemporary action packed fiction. His books helped me develop ideas used in The Assassins.
Probably, we could identify a thousand legitimate reasons for writing (that’s a figure of speech) I’ve only touched the surface and more will follow next week. Just remember that it takes a strong constitution to sit quietly alone in a solitary room day after day. Well … maybe … it’s not so hard. You put your fingers on the computer keys and wait until large drops of blood form on your brow.