A Twitter follower recently asked me if it was important that a writer like the stories that s/he writes. I responded by telling him that I have to be invested in the characters, and if I can do that, then I will like the story regardless of the genre or plot.
My characters become real to me, and when that happens I do like them, and in some cases love them, even my scoundrels. In many cases I have modeled my characters after people in my life, people I care about.
I tend to place my characters in situations and plots that draw out their inner courage and grit. That’s when I grow to like the story, when it peels back the layers of each main character until every aspect of that person’s being is exposed. By the end of a story, I want to know my characters better than I know myself. The choices they make in the story are what allow me to see who they are, so the plot becomes a vehicle to study the characters.
An author offered to pay me an impressive amount of money to adapt his book into a movie script. I turned him down because I had no interest in his characters. Writing is difficult for me, and there is no way I’m willing to spend a year on something that doesn’t intrigue me.
I am grateful to be in a financial position that allows me to develop stories without being concerned about royalty statements. That gives me the flexibility to experiment and thus grow as a writer without worrying whether readers will approve. Don’t get me wrong, I relish selling books, but my motivation for selling is simply that I want as many people as possible to find joy in reading my tomes.
I like to think that if I find tremendous gratification in writing my stories, then readers will also be delighted. So the short answer to my Twitter friend is YES, at least for this writer.