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The Act of Writing

There are times I wonder if I am actually creating a story, or if the story is creating me. Is this tale my creation? Or do I actually belong to the tale? Does an author create, or merely chronicle? Perhaps this all depends upon the author themselves, but for me, I tend to think of it in terms of just being a chronicler for the characters and their story.

As I’d noted in an earlier post, I have played (and still play) many RPG games. The kind of game where the player creates a character with which to experience the adventure in the game. And I also noted I spend probably as much, or more, time creating characters than playing the actual game content. This has made me wonder if I’m creating the character, or am I being directed by some unseen force or intelligence to make this particular character.

Now, before we start hollering alien influence, that is not what I mean at all. I do not believe some alien is controlling my mind. I do, however, wonder if my mind, perhaps, has a mind of its own. I have no clue as to where my ideas actually come from, although, I can see my characters and stories influenced by my own experiences throughout my many years. What movies I’ve seen, what books I’ve read, what life experiences I’ve had, or even other people I have met or known throughout my life.

In fact, as a retired software developer, I’ve always considered myself a logical type of person. One who analyzes variables and calculates outcomes. But when it comes to writing, all that logic seems to be absent, and it is an emotional experience for me.

Even so, when a story idea comes to me, I sometimes wonder where it came from. Some ideas come to me while sleeping and dreaming, or (many times) in those moments between consciousness and sleep. Sometimes and idea will rear its head while I’m watching a movie or TV show, or when I read a book. Sometimes, just during a casual conversation with someone, and idea will suddenly appear.

Perhaps this is why, for me, writing is more panstering than plotting. I feel more like a chronicler than a writer when I’m deep into a story. As if I’m just writing down what is happening, seeing it in my head as if I were watching a movie. At times, I’ve found myself depressed by what I was writing, feeling compassion for the character as if it were me, or someone I knew. Or feeling elated joy right along with the character in my stories. Most of the time, when I reach the end of a tale I’m writing, I’m just as surprised at by the twists and turns in the plot as the reader.

When I begin writing a story, I almost never know precisely where it’s going. I may have a general idea, but for the most part, I listen to my characters, and they tell me what to write. I know other authors that absolutely must plot their stories, or have outlines, but each writer is different, and I don’t think anyone can saw which way is the right way.

So, for me, I will go on wondering who is doing the actual writing. One thing I know for certain, I love writing down my stories, so whether or not it’s actually me is irrelevant. I’m having fun, and that is what writing, for me personally, is all about.