Thursday, November 11, 2010
Why I write what I write
Those of you who've read pretty much anything of mine will know that it's got a dark streak roughly the width of the Pacific Ocean. You'd have also noticed certain themes appearing fairly often: individuality in contrast and opposition to group dynamics, the fate of the misfit, the lure of the darkness and the cost of resisting it, cheery things like that. Even my lighter pieces - including some of the shameless fluff - have that edge under them.
I don't write about these topics because I feel the need to tell people the right way to go/do/be. If I wanted to do that, I'd start a religion and preach. I'm drawn to these topics because - in a rather less extreme fashion - they shape a lot of my personality. Or because I find them an endlessly fascinating source of inspiration. Twilight (the abomination that is sparkly vampires excluded) is the place where the light fades and the darkness begins to rule. Uncertain boundaries like that tend to be where conflicts arise, and where what works in the light starts to get difficult, if not dangerous. That's good story-fodder.
There's a reason I don't write horror - if I did, I'd be the horror writer who sent people screaming into the darkness, leaving them too scared to sleep. That's something other people have told me, and knowing where my mind goes, I believe them.
Fantasy and Science Fiction are sufficiently open that I can let out the darkness in a "safe" way, show it for what it is, and maybe get the bloody nutcases who inhabit my imagination to stop bitching about me taking too long to write their stories. Hell, my mind permanently inhabits somewhere between SF and Fantasy, where just about anything is possible so long as you've set it up properly. Whether what emerges is SF, Fantasy, or in extreme cases Alternate History, just depends on the characters and the stories.
(This, incidentally, is also the reason my friends and co-workers are familiar with the phrase "Kate-weird")
Those of you who write, why do you write the things you choose to write? Those who don't, why do you read the things you choose?