What Inspires Me to Write?

I saw Nichole McGhie over at The Excited Writer tackle this question last week, so I thought I’d add my piece.

What inspires me to write…

So, what inspires me to write?

This is sort of a difficult question for me to answer, because I’m not sure there is a singular response. It would be easy for me to say “my wife!” and be done with it. But that’s cliche. My writing also came before her. There had to have been something else.

My freshman year of college I took History 101, a Western Civilization class. A lot of it was information I had learned before, at least in summary, but I wanted to build my own history. I started with a dynastic line of rulers of a fictitious empire, replete with their names, how long they ruled, and how they were succeeded (or deposed).

I built a world around this empire; how it came to be , who they fought, who they traded with. And then nothing more happened. I had a world with some somewhat creative place names, but that was it.

Many years later, I was a grad student, slightly wiser, and certainly more experienced from relationships come and gone. I wanted to tell a story that mirrored one of those relationships, about two lovers coming of age together. But I needed a world to build around them, so I went back to that old document from college, and created Úr’Dan (not overnight, obviously).

Then, I needed more characters. I thought of one of my closest friends, whose dry wit and easygoing mentality morphed into  a reluctant leader and veteran soldier. I thought of my martial arts instructors, whose varying personalities morphed into one Master-at-Arms who commands respect from his trainees and the townsfolk alike. And I thought of a childhood friend, scarred but full of wonder, who became the tragedy of a girl who lost everything, including her identity.

Characterizations

All of these characters were pulled from real people I have encountered, real interactions I have had. And they have each been drawn from me in their own ways, like injecting a single string of my own DNA into their veins.

So, what inspires me to write?

People. The little moments of joy, lover, anger, or fear that make up the human experience have informed my characters. That motivates me to shape them as fully as I can into real individuals with their own dreams, beliefs, and wishes.

Writing is my own challenge to create individuals and experiences as real as those I encounter every day, and to make readers feel those precious moments.

I do not yet know if I will achieve that goal, but the desire to bring those moments to the page is what keeps me going.

Your turn! What inspires you to write? Leave a comment or write your own post!

Steve D

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