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We all love to write and I’d wager that most of us aren’t going to stop anytime soon. There are ups and downs, days when we can’t seem to stop writing and days when we can’t seem to start. But despite all of that, we’re committed to this crazy pursuit. I’d like to ask all of us a question in light of that fact:
Why do you write every day? Why do you sit around creating make believe worlds and populating them with all sorts of characters? Why do you expect to make a living off such a strange activity? Why don’t you do something more “productive” or “useful” with your time?
Now, I hope those questions don’t offend you. I certainly don’t believe writing fictional stories is unproductive or useless. I do, however, want to provoke you to thought, just in case you haven’t considered these questions before. As a writer, you should know why you’re writing. You should have a goal larger than simply finishing your next book.
What’s yours? Why do you write?
In a very broad sense, I think all of us might answer that question in very much the same way. The specifics will be different of course, but when you strip away the top layers, the foundation will be similar.
We all write with the very simple purpose of changing the way people think. Even if we don’t realize it, that’s our ultimate goal. We write stories so that people will read them, of course, but what effect do we expect them to have? Doesn’t it go beyond mere entertainment or escapism? Every story we interact with changes us at some fundamental level. The characters infect us, the plot sparks a new line of thinking, the setting captivates our imagination; something changes when we consume stories. Something changes in your readers when they consume your stories.
Now think about this: what effects are your stories producing in your readers?
You wield incredible power. What are you using it to accomplish? If the point of fiction is to change the way people think, what are you changing about your readers’ thinking?
If you can come up with answers to these questions, you’ll have your goal. You’ll have something that drives you to write even when you don’t feel like it. Even when the words just don’t seem to flow, you’ll force them out because you have a purpose. Writing is fun, sure. But it’s also work. Work with a profound purpose.
Don’t miss out on your purpose as a writer. That purpose is a flame that will fuel countless books if you can tap into it. If you’re only writing because it’s fun, your motivation will slacken eventually. You’ll give up and look for something else. But if you’re driven by passion, by an all-consuming desire to get something done, you’ll never stop. Even better, that passion will bleed through into your stories and your readers will feel it. They’ll be hungry for more even if they don’t know why.
So, what is the point of fiction? The point of fiction is no less than to change the world, one person at a time.
The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Use yours wisely.
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Step into the world of The Other Side of Hope, where the world as you know it is turned on its head. A world where Charles Martel fell on that field south of Tours, France and was never given his nickname, "The Hammer." A world where Europe came under Muslim rule and Christianity was eventually forced to flee to the shores of a distant land in search of religious freedom. A land where, without support from European colonial powers, they found only conflict and poverty.
In the modern day, this world remains divided. The wealthy Muslim East and the poverty-stricken Christian West are constantly at odds. A single spark is all it takes to ignite fresh conflict and the cycle seems never-ending.
Follow the paths of Ethan Lewis and Hamid Damir as they are put on a collision course with the other side. Will they find hope for a brighter future or be lost in the despair of intractable conflict?
Enjoy an excerpt:
Hamid looked down at his plate then back up at Dilara. “You know writers don’t make any money. Not for years, if ever.”
“That’s not the point.”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s not the point, it’s reality. I know you want to write and you know I think you’re a great writer, but that doesn’t change the fact that we need your paycheck.”
Dilaraclosed her eyes and took several deep breaths.
Hamid wasn’t sure if he should take that as a good sign or a bad one.
“We can make changes. Sacrifices. It would be worth it,” she said
Hamid raised his eyebrows. “Worth it? Who knows when it would be worth it. Even if we did move, the gas I’d spend getting to work would cancel out any savings. It’d take you months to write a book, years to get it published, and even then you might not make enough money for it to matter.”
“Sometimes I wonder if you even know me at all.” She picked up her fork and went back to eating.
Hamid stared at her, his own food forgotten. “Of course, I know you.”
Dilara slammed her fork down again. “No. I don’t think you do. You think money is what matters to me? That I want to write so I can make money?”
“No, I don’t think that.” He shook his head. “But that’s what I have to think about, our finances, our family.”
“What about doing something with my life? What about my dreams? Do you think about that?”
Hamid put both hands on his head and looked at the ceiling. “Yes, I think about that. But we have dreams, too. Dreams we’ve been working toward since college. You really want to throw all of that away?”
Dilara looked away and got quiet.
He’d gotten through. Good.
“Maybe those aren’t my dreams anymore.”
About the Author:
After working for over two years as a professional ghostwriter, the time has finally come for him to release his first full-length novel published in his own name, The Other Side of Hope. His short story, “Just a Drop,” was recently published in Nebula Rift Science Fiction magazine and an interactive version of the story is currently in beta testing. When he’s not writing, R.F. can be found playing the trumpet, writing his thesis in Arabic linguistics, or hiking in the mountains of Virginia.
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