Friday, August 16, 2013

Are We Having Fun Yet?

image from

We've all seen movies where it looks like the actors aren't having any fun. They can't wait to get off the set and go over to the catering truck for a snack break. They look a little embarrassed to be there on camera, actually filming this boring story. Those kind of movies aren't any fun to watch, either.

I've heard that when a writer isn't having any fun writing a story, the readers can tell. A week or so ago I stopped in the middle of a project I was working on and read it from the beginning and realized I didn't seem to be having much fun. I was making myself write because that's what I do. I was doing it on automatic. Like the way I wash dishes.

No one wants to hang around and watch me wash dishes.

So last night I decided to think wa-a-a-y back to what got me hooked on writing in the beginning. What was it, when I wrote that first science fiction story in third grade, or that fantasy novella in junior high, or that graphic novel I never finished in high school, that made me feel like I was taking the first plunge of a giant roller coaster and I wanted to throw up my hands and shout "WHEEEEEE!"

Here are the answers I came up with:
  • FEELING:  The words, words alone, could make me feel like something exciting, important, terrible, and wonderful was happening, even though I was only sitting there, scribbling in a notebook. I could tell myself stories in my head that would charge up my emotions, and then I could write them down, read them later, and get the same emotional buzz.
  • CHARACTERS: I liked to hang out with my imaginary friends. What can I say? It was almost as fun as hanging out with my real friends. Sometimes it was more fun, since my imaginary friends had space ships and could do magic.
  • PLACES: I never had to be where I was. Working on a story transported me. It felt like exploring, traveling, going on an adventure.
  • PUZZLES: Figuring out how to get my characters in and out of totally awesomely horrible situations without breaking any rules of the game always kept my brain very, very happy.
  • TIME: The hours flew by when I wrote. My internal clock is usually merciless, always driving me to get things done on schedule. When I wrote, the gears would slip, and I'd be totally free.
So what makes writing fun for you?


  1. This is awesome. Your thing about the characters being like friends- I had never thought of it that way. I need to make my main characters people that I would want to hang out with. Lightbulb Moment! Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Kasey. I've always thought of my characters as friends. I miss them when I finish writing their book. Unfortunately, this makes me perfectly happy to let them hang out and talk story instead of moving the plot! I'll find a good balance.


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