What inspired you to write?

When posed with this question, I internally stammer, my mind races, and I feel like a bit of a fool. Such a question should be easy enough to answer right? I mean, after all, I am a writer, and explaining to someone else why I write should be one of the easiest things for me to do, but it isn’t. Sure there are many factors that contribute to my purpose for writing, but none of them are stand-alone reasons for why I write. It is strange, but I cannot answer the question in a simple sentence or two. So here is my lengthy response to what should be an easy question.

The main force that drives me to write every single day is a calling. Even if I do not feel inspired, even if I do not exactly feel like writing, I feel like there is a small hole in my soul if I neglect my writings. Writing is a part of me, like a hand or a nose. If I ignore that part of me, I don’t feel whole.

I have been inspired by Tolkien, Star Wars, random fantasy movies on the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) channel, and a few TV shows. I even found inspiration in areas I did not expect, such as dramas, comedies, and instrumental music. For me, the world is just spewing with inspiration. My inspiration comes from not just from fiction and music, but my faith and relationships as well. My son alone is a source for so much inspiration.

Like many other writers of speculative fiction, I live in the “what if” world. What I mean by this is how many people wonder what would happen if a squadron Laat/i Republic Gunships (from Star Wars) came down and confronted an orc horde. This type of thing makes play time with my son more interesting too because he and I both like to imagine and pretend.

Another reason why I write is that I wish to produce works that I would like to see. When I feel disappointed by certain elements, like a villain with no depth, I set out to correct that problem with my writings. Of course that is rather ambitious, but writing at all is ambitious. I want to make the fantasy genre better, one story at a time, and I hope that others like my works as well.

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Villains

What makes a good villain? I am far from the first person to pose such a question. Maybe Darth Vader comes to mind when you hear that word, or maybe a power-hungry wizard. Villains are a huge part of fantasy. Some are the that demons heroes face internally, while others may be opposing factions. The real question may be who is really evil?  In fantasy there is a wide range of villainy, as there should be.

I prefer a villain to have depth, to struggle with things internally that he/she would never reveal outwardly. Hate and anger may be a driving force behind some of his actions, but he never sees it that way. I see a good villain that is someone as good at deceiving herself as she is at deceiving others. However, these traits just scratch the surface because to make an antagonist worthy of a story, he should be someone with whom the reader can identify if placed in a similar situation. I believe the scariest villains are not mindless monsters or those who are evil just to be evil, but they are the ones we can see ourselves becoming.

In the real-world, people often do evil things while believing they are doing good. This happens for a variety of reasons: perhaps the person’s worldview has changed, or maybe that person’s worldview does not line up with the status quo. It could also be that the person was persecuted in some way, and the pain he/she endured manifested after a long period of time. One does not have to go very far to find evil, and most of them did not suddenly wake up and say, “Hey, today I’m going to do something only an evil monster would.” Instead, they rationalize it to themselves. That is the villain that resonates with the reader. That is the type of villain I strive to create in Goandria.

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The Right Way to Write

It seems that there are as many opinions on how to write a book as there are books in the world. Most of the advice out there is generally geared towards those who do not know where to start, and that is fine. Over the years, though, I have found all this information rather overwhelming. I’m terrible at outlining, and there really is no such thing as a perfect formula for writing a novel. The fear of someone disliking our works can easily lead to an author overthinking the writing process.

Of course, there are things that make some works better written than others, but ultimately each writer must do what works for him or her. I have a friend who meticulously outlines all of the plot and most of the details before even attempting to write a manuscript, but someone else I know simply dives right in. Both are acceptable means, and some writers may have stronger opinions about how important outlining really is, but I suppose it depends on how well you can remember your own plot and characters.

If you are reading this and aspire to write, the best thing to do is just write what flows from you. Any aspiring writer will be bombarded with advice. What I have found to be most effective is to simply write and get honest feedback from people I trust. That feedback can then get implemented and help refine my work. Reading about writing and actually doing some writing are very different things, and we all have to learn as we go. There will always be those who dislike what you have written or how you have written it. As hard as it is, we writers have to take the constructive criticism as learning experiences and forget about the rest. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to write, so do what works for you.

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Check out Goandria!

I have blogged about the Goandria series on here, and that is the point to give potential readers a glimpse into what my writings are all about.  However, for anyone who is interested in checking it out for themselves, you can read Goandria: The Schism Part I for free.  If you like it, please leave a review.  I welcome all sorts of feedback and it you would like you can contact me at goandria@outlook.com.

So, if you are intrigued by what you have seen here, check out my website: /goandria.  From there you can buy my books, check for updates, or learn about upcoming releases.