On Threads Podcast: Life Unfiltered, I was recently asked, “Why science fiction?”
It’s a pretty straight forward question. Right? There are lots of good answers. Right?
My answer was: “I don’t know.”
And I don’t. I didn’t sit down one day and say, OK, I’m going to write a science fiction novel. If anything, I thought I’d write a supernatural horror novel or something. I alluded to as much after my “IDK” answer, stating that horror is probably my favorite genre as a reader, followed closely by sci-fi.
But since then I’ve replayed that question in my head and thought about why I wrote a science fiction novel. So here ya go.
I write science fiction because:
The real answer: I had to. I’m not a fan of plotting out a story, as I mentioned in Behind the Process: Handwriting vs. Typing. Some writers are, and that’s fine. But for me, a good story usually comes when I’m not thinking about what I should be writing. It comes when I have a pen in hand and I’m in kind of a neutral zone in my mind. So there’s no good answer to why I–or any other writer–writes in their preferred genre. That’s just what comes out when you dip into the creative well in your imagination.
The better question is: Why do you write?
Now this is a genuinely interesting question for me. I’ve heard writers say things like, “I’m not good at anything else.” I’d like to believe that’s not necessarily true of me, but…maybe. I dunno.
No, the reason I write is because it’s therapeutic. It calms me when I’m anxious. It relieves stress. It makes time disappear. The big one: It’s more fun than just about anything you can do. (By yourself, anyway.) JK Rowling was once asked why she wanted to be a writer. She responded brilliantly. More or less she said that she doesn’t understand why anyone would want to do anything else.
And there you have it. I write science fiction because it just comes out. But I write because, ha, I have to. I get weird(er) when I don’t. Stuff bubbles up inside that I’m not even aware of until I put pen to paper. Then, when I finally sit down with my yellow legal pad and G2 pen, my mind explodes. It doesn’t always happen all at once, but when it does, I’m gone for hours. Or until my wife tells me to change the laundry out.
Welp, I s’pose that’s it for today. See ya later, crocodile. Wait, that’s not…ah, never mind.