Why Do We Write?


Sometimes we base our characters on ourselves. Our feelings and opinions manage to transfer to these hollow people, slowly bringing them to life. But what about our baddies?

Does this mean that we all have nasty hidden traits like psychopaths or serial killers?

I love writing about villains, whether they are all bad or just a little. Does that make me inherently bad too?


This is the most important and also the fun part. Our characters need problems. I think about this a lot and have often wondered if this rule applies to us too. When do we feel most alive, firing on all cylinders and bursting with energy? Usually, when we have a ton of problems to solve.

I made this assumption because I have been feeling a bit meh lately, and only just realised it could be because I don’t have any serious problems at the moment.


As soon as I can, I must establish what my characters think they want or need. This will change as the story progresses, of course, as finding the HEA often leads them down unfamiliar roads, doing the strangest things.


Lastly, what is this universal message that books must have?

Basically, characters need to evolve and become better and happier people by the end of the story. Love – death – corruption – heroism. I have been told to consider the theme of my own life. Unfortunately, this didn’t help much for reasons I won’t go into here. Maybe this is why I became a writer, to find solutions that work?

They say that love conquers all obstacles. I know it doesn’t, but often wondered why they say that…

16 thoughts on “Why Do We Write?

  1. I’m a nonfiction writer, so I’m used to my own various emotions flowing through my writing. But I’d have to think there are pieces of every author in one or more of their characters, stories, settings. And honestly, I sometimes ponder what lurks in some writers minds when I read certain stories. 🙂 xx

  2. Some thoughts …
    I doubt that ‘love’, conquers much at all. It’s messy, wonderful, frequently disasterous, totally derails our decision-making processes, etc, etc. 🙂 … perhaps it’s what we do to engage with the situations we find ourselves in, (good, bad, or otherwise) after that initial eruption has abated a little, that makes all the difference.
    I sometimes wonder about what our characters get up to too.
    Perhaps as fiction writers we understand the whole range of what humans get up to better than most. Our imagination has to range out where angels fear to tread on a regular basis. We know that everyone has a breaking point, a price, something they would trade their very souls for. What keeps us (the writer) from going to those places ourselves, is choice. We choose to stay on this side of those lines in the sand, and have our characters go trampling all over them instead.

  3. You bring an interesting view to character writing, Jaye. I never thought about the evil of my character being an extension of my own evil. Have to give that some thought. Also, I have been solving problems on my own since I was ten years old. In my 80s, I’m quite content with the peace that comes with no problems. An excellent post.

  4. I enjoyed your ponderings.
    I like to write villainous characters too. Regardless of what I think of myself (evil or good), I like to write over-the-top villains because it’s a means of validation — even if it’s only coming from myself. It’s a way for me to say, “People like this are really out there! I know because I’ve met them.”
    As for the love conquers all thing — I’m with you. 🙂 Big hugs.

  5. A post that went straight to my heart (well the muse bit anyhow).
    My real villains tend to have a rough time; it’s a kick back against the tendency for truly nasty folk to become cult figures.
    Since I write ‘epic’ fantasy there’s scope to have oodles of characters, usually variable ethical standpoints covering most of Human flaws and shortcomings, or times when they are having a ‘grim’ episode. The endings tend to be upbeat and positive, though reached through a twisty-turny way.
    This all seems to be down to reading a great amount of military and political histories and how the times and the pressures create in people an urge to work outside of their normal moral bounds.

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