The Writing Buggers
I’m still on a massive questioning kick and I just have to know: why do you write?
I wrote my first short story back in 1994, titled “Durango’s Bluff”. It was some sort of bastardized western crossed with SF, which we now refer to as “steampunk”. I thought it was too short, set at only 15,000 words. It was only later that I realized that that length is actually too long for a short story. Irony, meet thy friend, Jason.
Basically, the story sucked. Sure, it had an okay premise. I mean, who didn’t like the idea of Apaches roaming across the plains on iron horses run by steam and coal fighting against the coal powered airships of the USA? Hmm… the story still has a nice sound to it. But anyways, I digress…
I wrote two more horrible stories, one about a kid who was paralyzed during a water ski race (seriously, I wrote it right after Kirk Book died at Lake Havasu… his death had a profound impact on me) and another about a kid magically inclined in a land where magic was thought to be dead. Not the most original idea until I had him “accidentally” worshiping a god of evil. Again, decent story ideas but horrible execution.
It wasn’t until after the Navy when I started writing “for real”. I got into Eric Flint’s 1632 series and really discovered my love for German history. Yeah, lots of people know about German history, but a rare few pay attention to any time before Otto von Bismarck. I started cranking out short stories about the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth and Russia, as well as Italy and Spain. It was during this time that I was able to track down some distant relatives who fought in the 30 Year’s War.
The writing bug had me. I was, and still am, writing out different ideas, stories, everything… it all comes back to one little story I wrote a long time ago. But what makes others tick? What drives other authors? Why do they write? Are they like me, not able to rest until the idea gets out of their head?