Today, Lewis decided to drop and tell us the reason why he writes. In line with my New Year’s phrase ‘No Excuses’, this blog post gives me the ammunition to continue to write because I have to answer the question of, ‘Why do I write?”
Take it away, Lewis!
Greetings to all the fans of the lovely and talented Ms. Parker Cole – and a huge shout out to her for inviting me to write this guest post on her blog! My name is Lewis Smith, and I am the author of the best-selling (at least, the best selling local work at the Greenville, TX Hastings Store) novel THE TESIMONIUM. You can read more about me, and my novels, at my own blog: http://lewisliterarylair.blogspot.com.
I thought my topic for this guest gig would be: Why Do You Write?
Of course, I have no idea why anybody else writes, so I guess my approach will be to explain why I write, and why I write what I do – and let you guys respond with your own answers.
First of all, I write because I love stories. I love to read a good story, I love to watch movies that tell good stories, and I like to tell good stories. (My “Black Coffin” story is legendary among my students at the small school where I teach – I am demanded to trot it out at least once a year!) The more entertaining a story is, the more joy it brings into the life of the writer and the reader. My brain cooks up stories on a fairly regular basis – everything from the mundane, everyday works of fiction (like why I am late getting home from the lake – the real answer “I didn’t want to leave before dark” carries a lot less weight with my wife than tales involving pirates and alien body snatchers) to complex 400+ word epics like THE TESTIMONIUM and my upcoming release, THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE.
Now, the second question is, Why do you write what you write? My stories all involve history and/or archeology as a recurring theme; both subjects, however, are tempered by a desire to explain why I find the Gospel accounts of Jesus to be completely trustworthy and historically accurate. In two novels, I actually take the reader back to the ancient world and let them see the unfolding of the Gospel story through the eyes of those connected to it – Pontius Pilate, in one case, and Theophilus, the mysterious character mentioned in Luke and Acts, in the other. I am using fiction to underscore historical truth. In my other two works, I use modern archeology and history to investigate and explain how modern-day discoveries (both fictitious but based on documents that actually existed at one time) can in fact prove that the Gospel stories are trustworthy.
Another reason to write is the opportunity to create and shape characters for your story who are complex, believable, and likable – or in some cases, supremely UN-likable! Your characters are like your children, except you don’t have to change their diapers or pay for their college. You make them, you imbue them with whatever qualities you choose, and when you are done, you have the unique opportunity to see other people fall in love with your creations! Whether it be the complex and tortured soul of Pontius Pilate or the exploits of Dr. Joshua Parker, my literary alter ego, once they are created and injected into the story, it’s a pleasure to watch them interact with the situations you put them in! My favorite reviews are those which talk about how much the reader liked this character or that in my stories. Then there are those wonderful throwaway characters that you can name after friends and acquaintances and then stick into whatever awful, wonderful, or funny situation you want. When I was writing THE TESTIMONIUM, many of my students asked me: “Can I die in your story?” So I granted them their requests! (That reminds me of a quote I read the other day: Never anger a writer – he can not only come up with incredibly creative ways to kill you, he can get paid for doing so!)
Story. Message. Characters. These are three of the reasons that I love writing so much.
Now how about you?