Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Motivation in Fiction Writing

I'm going to finish up my discussion on motivation that I started yesterday. Again I speak only from my point of view because that's the one I know. I've read others' views on the matter and wanted to add my impressions for consideration. This time for fiction writers.

I love a good fiction story. Plot twists, characters that live and breathe, and the settings of where I've been or hope to go even if it's a fantasy world. Writing fiction has different motivations than writing nonfiction. But one thing both have to have is a unique voice and a story line.

I've had all of these motivations in writing fiction. Now to carry on from yesterday...
  • As Paul Harvey used to say, tell "the rest of the story"
  • A story which won't die in your head
  • Characters who would play a role in your story and won't shut up
  • Demons need exorcising
  • The more you write; the more appears to be written-self generating story line
When you write historical fiction, be it romance or any other type, you have boundaries within  which you write. You tell the rest of the story. Or a fictionalized story within fact. I did this with Escape from Second Eden and The Mayan Serpent (yet to be published). I had specific events in historical facts as guidelines and reference to work within, and build the story to coincide with them. The characters are fictionalized with a sprinkling of actual public figures.

This is probably the easiest and hardest form of fiction to write. Easy because all the hard work of recreating an era, clothing, events are done for you and you don't have to create from scratch. The hardest part is the boundaries themselves. You have to totally immerse yourself as the writer in the time. No modern thoughts, conveniences, or speech.

For me, these books are memories from my journals growing up. Believe me when I say that I could write a hundred suspense type books just off my life experiences. I hate to compare myself to other authors, but didn't Ian Fleming and Jack Higgins do the same thing? Their backgrounds are in espionage as is mine, but mine is from a different perspective. All are thinly veiled truths and half truths of people and incidents that passed through our lives with a what if factor. Writers write what they know and writing these types of books help me exorcize the demons in my past.

Some writing I do as exercises or shorts to languish away their lives in notebooks or flash
drives. I keep everything I write good or bad. For my southern fiction persona, it's tales set in Georgia. Of course because I live in Georgia. The Sacrificial Lamb, The Illusion of Tranquility (yet to be published) and Surviving Hank (yet to be published) are three examples that started out as exercises, but the main protagonist and antagonist wouldn't shut up after the story or piece was written. They may have started out as a 500 word short-short or a 1,000 word short, but took off a life of their own in a self generating novel. As a writer ya gotta love when that happens.

They don't fit the mold as cozy, southern murder mysteries as southern fiction is usually defined, but they are hard and gritty. They deal with issues like child abuse/molestation, divorce, affairs, adultery, and yes, murder...the messier side of life. The question asked is not whodunit, but will he/she get caught and is justice served. Unfortunately these are also written from my journals and are exorcizing demons.

All that being said, I often wonder about my zombie side step. Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption, Zombie Apocalypse: Travelers (yet to be published), and Zombie Apocalypse: Controllers (yet to be published).

Whatever possessed me to write about zombies? I didn't even like zombies until a year a half ago. No, I really didn't say that out loud. < Er, um, cough, cough> I've been a zombie fan my whole life. Yeah that's what I meant to type my fingers are possessed!

What was my motivation for this series...a fluke and marriage between a news event and my striving to be self sufficient. I have experience in medicine and a self-sufficient lifestyle. The fluke was a halfway listened to news blurb on Fox News about the CDC issuing a Zombie Apocalypse alert. Within literally months, the first story was written, the second outlined and halfway written, and the third having a handful of new details and scenes tying into the first two. It took on a life of it's own for a series. I've never written a series before nor had any desire to do so until this one. I much preferred writing the stand alone books with the possibility of a sequel at best, if my audience wanted one.

Not all my stories are self generating. Those stories usually fall by the wayside within ten chapters. It's too much like work. Does anybody really like to work when creating? Sure as I've said on this blog numerous times, you must do your homework prior to writing, but writing should be fun. I've quit better jobs and for more money than writing generates for me.

Don't get me wrong, writing is hard work especially the editing and rewriting parts. By the time the rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing and editing parts roll around you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe not if it takes forever.<sigh> See all those books listed above marked "yet to be published?" Yep you've guessed it...they are awaiting further editing and rewrites.

So what is your motivation behind your book and what tricks do you use to stay motivated during the process?

Keep writing and loving the Lord


4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No, I don't like work! I am the ultimate lazy writer.
Historical fiction sounds really challenging to me.
I just wanted to write a story I wanted to read. My motivation is once I start, I will finish.

Nick Wilford said...

Wow, you've really covered a range of different genres!

I'd like to write some historical fiction because I love history and finding out about the past. I'm not much of one for research but I think I'd enjoy it if I threw myself into it. I admire people who can weave true events into the story seamlessly.

Pk Hrezo said...

You're quite eclectic there. Yep, I've got a backlist of stories needing rewrites as well. SOmetimes I'm not sure if they're worth the work or not.

J.L. Murphey said...

PK and Nick, My stories aren't quite eclectic. They are suspense based just in different settings.

Nick and Alex,I don't really write historical fiction per se because it is not based on 100+ years in the past. It's historical because it's based on historical events. It is a near historical less than 50 years but more than 20 years in the past. I write in that era because that's when I started journaling in earnest of personal experiences.