Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Write?

Someone once asked me why I became a writer. The answer is complicated, and I'll try not to stray too often. Growing up in the small community of Woodville, Tennessee, our television set received only three channels, and you had to walk outside and manually position the pole antenna to get two of them. I've always been a night owl, and most nights there wasn't much to do, so naturally reading became an outlet for relieving my boredom. For me, getting lost in a good book was better than eating homemade ice cream.

Eventually I grew up, married a handsome sailor, and moved away. The first time my husband's squadron went to sea, I discovered the city library. Soon Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney were my new best friends. Until that fateful afternoon I picked up a book by Jill Tattersall. With characters who left me breathless, her romances captivated me. I became addicted. Obsessed.

Today the trend is to bombard readers with page after page of explicit sex. The romance, if there is one, is secondary. Let's face is easier to write and sell. Don't get me wrong. I've no objection to the hero and heroine rolling around in the hay, but not each and every chapter. I'd like to glimpse an enduring love blossoming beneath all that heavy breathing. Two people choosing love in spite of their differences really gets my heart racing. It's the only reason I keep reading. Without that overpowering emotion, there is no story. Only porn. And I can get that, day or night, on the cable channels.

I write historical romance. The old fashioned kind. My main characters are strong, honorable, and loyal. Sexy? Absolutely! But back to the original question of why I write...putting stories down on paper is the only way to get them out of my head. I also get a sense of satisfaction, because I know when others read about my characters, they will live forever.


Maggi Andersen said...

I agree Danielle. It's unrequited love that keeps a TV series going strong where viewers keep tuning in to see if they'll finally get together, and loving the conflict between the two characters. Catullus wrote of his unrequited love for Lesbia in Ancient Roman times.
"A mighty pain to love it is,
And 'tis a pain that pain to miss;
But of all pains, the greatest pain
It is to love, but love in vain."
This intrigues us. Sex on every page soon becomes boring.

margaret blake said...

Yes I agree - although I add spicy bits to my novel, as readers seem to like it, it is not on every page. I always say if it's worth having, it's worth waiting for. LOL!

Deborah Swift said...

An interesting post with a revealing self-portrait. I think the key thing about sex in a novel is to portray it so that it gives insight into the character - it's the character people care about, not necessarily the sex. Readers want to know how intimacy fits into the character's view of their world, I think. And in history the acceptable attitude to sex can vary enormously.

Dee Julian said...

I hope I didn't give the impression that I don't like a little spice, because I do. After all, you cannot have two main characters who are not attracted to one another. (lol) I guess I just get more wrapped up in the unfolding story. That's what draws me in.

Liz Fichera said...

Lovely site! Glad I found you. I write historicals, among other things, and I'm partial to reading them as well. Look forward to following your posts!

Dee Julian said...

Welcome, Liz! We're pleased you stopped by.

Maggie Dove said...

Hi Dee,

I enjoyed your post very much. I also love historical romances...the old fashioned kind. The spice is great but the love behind it has to be spectacular!

Nice to meet you,