How can I help people by writing stories?
People tell you up front: there’s no money in this gig. Really, honest and true, there’s not, even if you’re a lucky son of a gun and write a best-seller, because you can’t count on it every time. One of the first big decisions you make as a writer is that you aren’t doing it for the fame, or even the moola.
You have other reasons, and you find some along the way.
You say, “I want to give people what other people gave me.” You want to give someone something they can work with, and turn into another marvellous thing they can pass on, and make a life a smidgen better, even for one day.
If that’s the magic formula you seek … I got nothing for you.
Jk. I love you, c’mere and let me show this.
1. Find a Truth: the old advice we hear came from someone who really, really wanted other people to know what they did. Live for today, count your blessings, start now, eat your vegetables, don’t worry about it so much- these all meant something to somebody and are passed down in one way or another because they had meaning in someone’s life. Find a piece of advice you want to give, something that’s really true to you, and make it true to one of your characters. Let them learn that lesson as they make mistakes and grow in your story. Let it resonate with them, because that’s how it resonates with the reader.
2. Get Inspiration-Support: does it have to make you sob and thank somebody above? Naw, dawg. Just read. Watch movies, and tv shows. Go for walks outside. Learn junk about the world and stuff like that. Go do something with people you love, or appreciate the quiet somewhere special to you. Be free, and open-minded, and a little crazier than you normally are. You inspired = readers inspired. But, you know that one, don’t you, you bunch of smarties?
3. Accuracy & Creativity: what really gets me as a reader is when someone can put something into words that shouldn’t be. Y’know? Feelings aren’t words, they’re feelings, you psycho. That mountain ain’t in my living room, get it out of there. This is a hard one, I know. This kind of takes experience, keen observation, and well, a talent for it- but a talent that can come with time. I’m way better at describing … well, everything, than I was when I started. Give it time.
4. Originality: … well, duh, you say. But, duh yourself, this is important. Take me somewhere new. Lower my defences when I read by flipping my expectations on their snotty little heads. Won’t I feel the fool for thinking I knew everything? … Wow, I mean, you opened my eyes, there, I totally didn’t know about that. I am an inspired reader
hear me roar.
5. Give Them Something to Do: Sometimes, it pays to be vague. The reason fandoms are born is because readers/viewers really love the heck out of what they read/see, and they want more. The writer (or whoever) has somehow promised awesomeness is happening in the background of this already awesome story, but hasn’t gone into it. A backstory, perhaps? A side-character or two that aren’t explained as thoroughly as the rest? A whole new world with an ever-expanding mythology? People want to be a part of that. People want to show their appreciation by making things. I know fan-created content sometimes gets a bad rap for being amateurish, or whatever else, but my god. It’s awesome that an entire group of people can love something so much that they create all new things for it. That’s awesome.
And so are you, rough copy kitties. Write on.