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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fame or Fortune? Why Do You Write?

The fun part of writing is the imaginative part. While fame and fortune sound nice, I prefer testing, stretching and twisting our language and breaking rules. I’m ashamed to admit that lately I've been choosing the simplest communication over art because there are so many serious or perhaps teasing, perfectionists out in cyberspace called grammarians. They make me question everything and sometimes I want to throw myself in a river. Sure, sometimes I’m lazy or pressed for time and sometimes I forget about the reader. In today’s world, it seems many things depend on how you make people feel. When I wrote my novel, Penniless Hearts--honestly--I didn't care about the reader. Sorry, but I desperately had to get the story out. 

Famous writers waiting for a huge amount of money, as in an advance, would naturally care about the reader. My novel is a raw piece of my heart that I had to write. There are sentences that beg to be re-written and there are typographical errors and yes, there are grammatical mistakes. (My manuscript was edited and I re-read and re-wrote it at least 30 times before publishing it.) Still, those who took the time to read it have enjoyed reading the book and amazingly understood most of the points I was trying to make. Hindsight makes me think it's cool just the way it is. Now onto the next one. Should I care more about the reader? Shouldn't we care more about the story? It's like going to a new restaurant with a giant menu full of delicious choices. What to do? What to pick? 

Take this sentence for example:

She went down to the river to pray.
I could be more specific:
Annabelle grabbed her hat, jumped on her green bicycle and headed towards the famous Mississippi where she intended on doing some soul searching by kneeling and reflecting on God.

Or I could add more drama:
Guilt made her run out the door-- down the embankment to the river’s edge where she stood on a bridge--allowing her  inner agony to fall away in tearful prayers—dropping--mingling in the current-- finally flowing out to a turbulent sea.

Or be more factual:
The weatherman said the river would flood but Tanya’s faith pushed her down to the shore, where she noticed the flotsam filled water, carrying the tiny chapel south.

Or write two politically correct-non-religious- sentences instead of one:
She knew it was time to prioritize, in order to figure out what was important. Following her heart, she left the city at dawn and drove to her favorite riverside cabin.
Picture from Edgar Allen Poe-To the River-(a poem)

Or be non-committal but better:
Rushing water lured her soul to the river’s edge where she knelt on soft moss to give thanks for all her blessings.

Or my funereal (kidding) version:
Eve decided it was more than writer’s block before ceremoniously marching to the rapid flow of the river, tossing her manuscript downstream, where strewn pages lodged between wet boulders becoming buried or quickly decomposing after her mumbled prayer and loud ‘amen’.

Could have, should have, would have. The options are endless and the creative part is fun. What do you think? Is simpler better? Are you going for word count or literary value? Would the promise of being a bestseller make a difference? Are awards more important than money? Does any of this matter to you?


  1. I tend to think "I write, therefore I am."

  2. Evie: Your book was sooo good I didn't even notice your mistakes. Your story was that engaging. And I'm glad you wrote it from your heart and not from some kind of recipe.

  3. Neither did I!

    When I started writing professionally, I confess, I was competitive. I did it for the money, the recognition. Now I do it for the passion, the satisfaction of writing the stories I really want to write.

  4. I write so that I might remain sane. Makes sense to me! :)

  5. I write because I enjoy it. There's no way I'm ever going to get rich or famous doing it! :)