A good friend told me that I need to express myself publicly not too long ago. As those who truly know me can attest, this concept is almost anathema to who I am. ‘Very private’ seems utterly insufficient to describe myself in this regard. ‘Secretive’ might apply, but to me, that carries with it bad connotations. ‘Choosing what to share as a miser spends coins’ is probably best, if the miser comparison isn’t too much of a cliché.
However, in an effort to practice the public expression concept (which I’m still not convinced is such a good idea), I have decided to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart: writing.
I started writing the summer of 1997, and I’m proud to say the quality of my stories has progressed ever since. I highly doubt I will ever pen a Great American Novel, but I have yet to find any experience that compares to the rush—the high—of crafting a narrative. For me, writing is fun, and most of all, the act of creating is rewarding all by itself.
Unlike some, I cannot say that I have wanted to be a writer from a very young age. In all truth, my first career goal was to be a crime lab technician; blame Sherlock Holmes. It wasn’t until I discovered the genre of Fantasy that I was bitten by the writing bug.
For the first nine or ten years of my reading life, I devoted myself almost exclusively to Mystery novels. However, none of the novels I read after Sherlock Holmes introduced me to the Mystery genre really compared or stood up to the Great Detective. So, disillusioned with that particular subset, I asked a cousin with whom I shared similar interests what books he’d recommend, and he suggested David Eddings and DragonLance (specifically the Chronicles Trilogy by Weiss and Hickman).
To this day, I cannot tell you which I read first. However, I clearly remember identifying with the character of Raistlin in the Chronicles trilogy, although I’m not entirely sure why. We don’t have all that much in common. But…I devoured the Chronicles trilogy and moved on to its sequel: the Legends trilogy.
When I reached the end of the Legends trilogy, I remember feeling discontent. I didn’t like how Raistlin’s character arc ended. Don’t get me wrong; it was appropriate to the story. It fit very well, and ultimately, it was the right ending. But it still didn’t sit well with me.
I remember sitting on the edge of my bed, thinking “I don’t like how that story ended. I think I can do better.”
Now, I’m sure, if this article ever reaches the eyes of any true DragonLance fans, there will be those who regard this sentiment as something akin to a Christian saying “I don’t like how the Bible ends; I think I can do it better.” (Any bets on how many people I’ve offended with this comparison?)
The thing is, though, everyone needs some impetus—some driving force—pushing them to improve and progress in whatever their true passion is.
For without drive, without ambition, all that remains is apathy and stagnation.
To be quite honest, I don’t want to “do it better” than Weiss and Hickman. The Chronicles and Legends trilogies are exquisite works in the Fantasy genre. To me, these narratives are examples of what good Fantasy can and should be.
Still, the thought served as a catalyst to uncover a part of me I had not yet realized existed, and ever since, I have been stumbling toward the stories I want to tell.
And that is why I write…