Sakichi Toyoda formalized the 5 Whys technique as a part of improving the manufacturing processes at Toyoda Motor Company. While I don’t intend to iteratively delve into the why’s behind the why’s of my writing, I do want to share a few of the reasons I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard and produce stories for you, my readers.
I want to write influential stories: I cried the other night. I was watching the nightly news and observed conditions in Aleppo, Syria. I watched orphans getting shot at in the streets while trying to evacuate the city. My heart cried out for them, at the injustice of innocent kids getting trapped in a crappy situation. It wasn’t lost on me that Chronicles of Outremer tells a story of knights who served near Aleppo during the Crusades. The Sun has a well laid out article on the situation there.
Why was that scene so moving? I believe in large part because I grew up reading books and watching TV and movies that built a framework for me to observe the world and make value judgments. A worldview. I know the plight of those kids is unjust. Men and women are rising up to protect them, to vouchsafe the helpless. I hope that the stories I write can contribute to others who will pick up a standard for just causes. I’m a strong proponent that “Manners Maketh Man.”
I want to tell great stories: I like reading. I’ve always liked reading. I remember quite well the feeling of falling into a train seat at the end of the workday, feeling burned out, ready to hit “pause” on the world around me and instead find myself in another place, caught up in a larger story. I remember staying up till 3 or 4 in the morning following Roland of Gilead track down the Dark Man. Turning pages to learn what happened to Sturm Brightblade. While I love long-form fiction, I know sometimes it’s nice to have a quick episode of TV to watch during a short period of time. I hope my stories can provide an escape for those who are plugging away through a hard day and want a chance to relax and get away.
I want to get better at writing stories: There may be some writers who have a 100% natural inclination to writing, who never need an editor, who always have the perfect turn of phrase or plot twist. I’m not one of those writers. My technical writing skills have improved over time, and continue to improve the more I use them. Practice makes perfect. The only way I’ll get better is by writing, and that comes with time, effort, help, and a lot of elbow grease.
I want to write stories about The Story: Full disclosure, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ. The Chronicles of Outremer has some Christian elements to it. I’d like to say it’s a story about knights who are Christians, not so much a Christian story. What does that even mean, right? But my faith certainly influences my writing.
One of my core beliefs is about restoration. I know the greater Story involves an Enemy, a struggle to get back something that was lost, a blend of surrender and action to achieve, powerful desires for beauty and adventure, and a slow restoration of all the things we’ve left behind or lost. Ascent of the Fallen begins the story of Lord Fallondon Breck and his company of knights seeking to recover something that was lost: their prestige, acclaim, and fortunes. Fallondon is trying to recover his heart. I think that story is laced throughout all of the best stories out there. Braveheart. Kingdom of Heaven. The Martian. Lord of the Rings. Stardust. Star Wars.
I’ve got a number of irons in the writing fire. An adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo. A dark fantasy series, the first book called Advent Goliath, based on my eclectic and hilarious submarine stories. And more. I know some won’t be your cup of tea. But I hope each one tells a compelling story!
Hopefully you, dear reader, are here to be entertained. To be inspired. To be restored. To be reminded of something greater than you that’s inside and waiting to be catalyzed for good. To be moved. To laugh. To cry. To live.
Why do you read? Why do you enjoy the stories you love? Let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for new perspectives and takes to weave into my books!
Photo credit: yeowatzup
** I’m not advocating The Sun as the best source of information on this subject, nor advocating a certain position or response by any particular entity. Goodness knows there’re enough politics and whatnot at play. I do hope that any effort to raise awareness produces positive change in the situation there. I found The Sun’s photographic collage to be well put together, and hope you do as well.