Why do we Write?

  • Why do we write? What is the purpose of stories?

    I published a new novel last July, and a particular Amazon review gave me a very special and unique kind of reassurance of its apparent appeal. The review suggests that maybe my ideals and philosophies are worth sharing, and my writing has much more than just entertainment value.

    It raises a question for me. I asked myself, ''Why do you write?''.

    What is fiction? Why do we read it?

    A fiction writing tutor once told me we read to find the solutions to life's problems. Fictional characters teach us how to live.

    A psychologist once suggested to me that many mentally ill people don't read fiction, and that contributes to their illness. They don't learn how others operate in this crazy, challenging world of ours. They don't gain insight into the emotions of others and the way others tackle problems.

    Someone very close to me is mentally ill, and he's never read a work of fiction. He declares fiction ''trivial nonsense; a waste of time''. He also has no capacity for empathy. He talks incessantly about the hardships he faces and the hurts he suffers, and he assures everyone that nobody in the world has every suffered so. He trivializes the worries and problems of others and regards those who grieve with contempt.

    I wonder would he be different if he shared the struggles and sorrows and the heights of joy that readers experience when reading a well-crafted story?

    Why do you write? Do you write in the hope that you can enlighten or educate? Or is that an occasional unconscious result of creating make-believe characters, giving them make-believe problems, and having them respond to the challenges we set for them?

    Do most stories provide valuable insight into the secrets of success or contentment, or is it only selected works that offer more than entertainment value?

    What do you take away from reading the books you enjoy most, and do you strive to give your readers that same benefit?

    I'm curious! I'll enjoy seeing your responses.

    In case you are curious, here's the review in question. The title of the book is ''Mortgaged Goods''. It's one of this month's Noveltunity selections.

    ''This uniquely captivating book is far more impressive than it may initially appear. If you read it as a simple narrative, it's still very good, but the importance of the book, and the reason it has stuck with me, is the questions it leaves you asking of yourself once you turn the last page (or swipe...). For both of these characters, we see life "before" and "after", and while most novels have some sort of turning points or crisis around which it revolves, Cobcroft spent more time digging into the emotional carnage and honest self-appraisals that go into the recovery process. This wasn't a book just for women, nor was it a romantic and sappy sad story. It was a rather brutally sincere portrait of life after loss, and the pain of personal reflection. We often take on jobs, relationships, and life paths that aren't particularly healthy or beneficial for ourselves, and many people go years or lifetimes without realizing what really matters. Cobcroft explores the intense emotions of self-confidence and the fortitude of the human spirit. This story isn't simply about a Cinderella story gone wrong.... it's a complex analysis of what it means (and what it takes) to be happy.''

(200 symbols max)

(256 symbols max)