Continuing the theme of my Laini Taylor life-crush, I started reading DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. Well, I’m about 180 pages in, and I have to confess my admiration for the girl has not dimmed. And here is one of the reasons why – a quote from page 154, where three of the main characters are playing a game called How Much would your life have to suck to want the Apocalypse?:
That you wish the entire world would end so you don’t have to wake up one more day in your crappy house – which, by the way, has no art in it whatsoever – feed your surly kids*, and go to a mind-numbing job where someone is sure to have brought doughnuts to make your ass even fatter…
That sums up my greatest fear in a nutshell. And sadly, that life is the life we are conditioned to lead. It explains why I feel compelled to write and read every day. To be free and escape the mundane. To live a life less ordinary, even if that life only exists safely between the pages of a book. Why do I love writing? Because it’s like watching a movie, where you get a say in how it all pans out. Where, although you think you’re the one in charge, your characters can turn around and surprise you. The ones designated to have a minor role, stand up and say: “Hey, I’m here – I won’t be ignored.” The ones you thought were fragile, turn out to have unexpected strengths. The ones you thought were invincible, are complex and layered. I love that.
I recently read the Q&A section at the back of Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. He confessed that the ending took him completely by surprise and for that reason it ruled out the follow-on book he had originally planned. When I read that, I had a newfound respect for Mr Gaiman. Firstly, that he didn’t sell out and change the ending so he could write a sequel. Secondly, because he was happy to be a passenger on his own story journey. In the end, it took him where it wanted to go and he was content to enjoy the scenery along the way. My experience was a similar one – and all the more richer for it.
What about you? What motivates you to write? How does the writing experience shape your story?
*Disclaimer: Although I have kids, and they can at times be surly, I feel compelled to add that they are so quirky and unconventional, I could never see them contributing to the mundanities in life. In fact, their razor-toothed wit and unique logic (usually skewed toward their own ends) brings me no end of delight. *Love-fest over*