Friday, September 26, 2008

Why I Write Fiction, part II

A year ago, I posted an entry on why I write fiction. I still feel the same way. Whenever I receive an email from a reader who read Boston Boys Club or Miami Manhunt, I print out the letter and keep it in a folder that I carry with me in my messenger bag. The letters mean that my words, my writing resonated with someone on a certain level. Connection. They inspire me to keep writing.

But I also write for myself. It's a creative compulsion. I can't stop. Having just finished self-editing the third book, Beantown Cubans, and shipping it off to my editor, I went three weeks without having a forum to create characters, settings and stories. As I hiked in the Blue Hills, cycled in Boston or read other novels on the ellyptical machine at my gym, I felt a creative void. (insert sounds of crickets chirping) The third book was done. What else could I write? Then that creative magic struck me like lightning in field of dry sawgrass in the Everglades. Another character was born. A seed was planted, a new chapter began to blossom and another story was born. I shared it with two friends and they asked, "How did you come up with that? Where did you get your ideas?" I shrug my shoulders and answer, "I don't know. It just came to me out of the blue." But unlike my other books, I'm changing things up a bit with this tale. I am writing it in third-person, as I do my news articles.
The writing also serves as a place of retreat. No matter what is happening in my life, I can escape to the fiction writing and delve into this other world, sort of like a soap opera. I'm sure that fellow artists, singers, and dancers can relate to exploring that creative sanctuary.