Monday, October 22, 2007


As someone who blogs about writing, it’s easy to focus on the craft of writing: Characters, plot, setting, storytelling. Do you outline or not? What's your process?

It’s sometimes easy to focus on the business of publishing, to get caught up in the momentum of publicity, book tours, reviews, rankings on bestseller lists and amounts of advances.

These things are important. I want to write well, and I want writing to be financially successful for me.

But I feel like sometimes I forget about the meaning of writing, what purpose it serves for me and for any potential readers. Being published offers me an amazing opportunity to express myself, to say what I think and feel about important issues. That blows me away! I feel a deep responsibility to get it right, to honor this opportunity, to not waste it or treat it frivolously.

So I’ve been thinking about my intentions lately. What deeper things I want from writing and what I hope to give through it. I want my writing to be entertaining and interesting. I hope that readers might laugh and cry when they read my books. But I want my writing to mean something more than that too. I want my writing to touch people, to make them feel known and understood, if only for the short time they spend with my characters. I want to make them think, to maybe see things a little differently or at least understand how others might see things a little differently. And maybe I, too, can learn something from all this, can see things a little differently, understand something a little more.

These are my intentions. What are yours?


Shauna Roberts said...

I want my writing to both entertain people and make them think. Much of my fiction focuses on culture clash, and I hope to encourage people to be more tolerant of those who are different from themselves.

Therese said...

Carleen, such good points...

One of the few short stories I've written deals with the matter of female infanticide in rural India. Not a pretty issue, but a real one that deserves attention.

Not everyone wants to use fiction this way, and that's fine. I'm pleased, though, to now be able to do just as you say: tell what I think and feel about important issues, in print, for others to read and consider.

There is no shortage of issues, only a shortage of time to explore them. But it's a privilege to do it at all, I agree.

Carleen Brice said...

Shauna, Sounds like we're on the same page.

Therese, Privilege is exactly the right word!

Lisa said...

I think my intent is to tell stories in a way that illuminates something about people that shows that none of is really ordinary. I like exploring the "what ifs" and putting characters into situations that force them make the kinds of decisions that bring out who they really are.

iyan and egusi soup: said...

hi carleen,

whenever i'm feeling stuck on some aspect of writing, i revisit my intentions to understand where i am at the moment. not surprisingly, my intentions evolve as i do. at this moment, my intention is to connect to the human spirit in some way that allows each of us to see a bit more of who we are--to explore our shadow lives, thoughts, and experiences.

Carleen Brice said...

I&E, that's a good point about intentions evolving as we evolve.

Ello said...

I like this post! Good points. I write about history because I think we can learn so much from the past.

Sustenance Scout said...

All good points. It's so encouraging to hear so many other writers voice their desire to make a point and maybe even educate rather than simply entertain. There's so much to learn and share, and so little time!