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You want to write a WHAT?????

by on December 19, 2013

Today I have a guest post from the enigmatic Sam Kates. Outside of his writing, we know little about Sam because he is even more reserved about his private life than I am. He’s not so much hiding his light under a bushel, and more burying it in a disused coal mine. So, to find out about Sam we have to pay attention to his words, which fortunately is a worthwhile exercise.

So, here is Sam, telling us Why he writes what he writes.

A work colleague said to me the other day: “Sam, you’re a pretty nice bloke so what made you write a novel where virtually everyone in the world dies?” (Actually, he didn’t call me Sam as that would be weird – Sam Kates is my pseudonym.)

It got me thinking about the types of story we write and why we write them. Do they, as implied by my colleague’s question, somehow reflect the writer’s personality or character traits? If I wrote about a psychopathic murderer (I have done; Celesta, the opening story in Pond Life, is about such a person), does that mean I have latent tendencies to go around chopping up pretty supermarket girls?

No. Of course it doesn’t. And seven billion deaths in The Cleansing doesn’t make me a wannabe genocide-monger on a global scale. I don’t think my colleague believes that I am, though I have caught him casting the occasional worried glance in my direction…

So why do we write these stories? Well, I can’t speak for any other writers, though I suspect it will be the same for many, but I write the sort of stories that I enjoy reading. I don’t tend to read romance or erotica or poetry, so writing them holds no interest for me. But science fiction, horror, fantasy, thrillers, humour, satire, general fiction, I enjoy them all and many of the stories I write will slot into one or more of those categories.

Maybe the more pertinent question is: why do we read what we read? Pleasure, entertainment, escapism, mental stimulation, to be challenged and provoked… Add your own.

This doesn’t hold true for every writer. I have seen some claim that they never read for pleasure. Each to their own. But as a general rule, I think it fair to say: we write what we write because we read what we read.

Sam Kates

Earth Haven Book 1 : The Cleansing is being published on 22nd December.

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  1. Rebecca Douglass permalink

    That’s the truth! And I’ve tried working the other way–writing “serious” fiction because that’s more noble or something. Trouble is, though I read it some, I much prefer to maintain a sense of humor–and it bubbles out at the most inappropriate times!

    • I started out writing serious epic fantasy, Rebecca. But look what happened to me.

      • Rebecca Douglass permalink

        Some of us should just know that if the word “serious” is in it, we probably are doomed.

  2. Will, thanks for hosting Sam’s essay on his writing. That question is a great one, and a silly one. Great cause it goes to the core of who we are. Silly because “we just do it!” But I love ruminating on the matter, now and then. For myself, I began writing fiction cause the market did not have enough books of the First Contact with Aliens type that I love reading. So I began writing a few. Oh, great cover art for Sam’s novel The Cleansing! Tom/T. Jackson King.

  3. Thanks for the post, Will and Sam.
    And Sam, even though I’ve mentioned it before, The Cleansing’s cover is so cool!

  4. Kellie permalink

    Thanks Will and Sam for posting about Sam’s writing!

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