What Makes Me Write

So, I didn’t blog once a week as I’d planned to do over the last year.

And I haven’t completed my next novel — yet.

Still, I’m here. I’ve started innumerable blog posts in my head, but never got around to typing them out. Gotta smarten up about that.

The last several months have seen momentum, though. I’ve had my novella, Rip Gone Wrong, go through editing and once I complete the notes and have it proofread, I’ll either shop for a publisher or go for self-publishing.The family trip to FanExpo was amazing, and we were right into the school year immediately following that, which meant getting into another haunted house fundraising event. As soon as the event was over, I dove into National Novel Writing Month and got a draft underway for the experimental writing project started in the summer of 2015. Reaaaallly hoping that it doesn’t take me another seven years to finish the damned manuscript, this time. So I’ve been trying to boost my motivation by indulging in some of the stories that inspire me, such as Castle (my darling spouse gave me the final three seasons for Christmas), and my favourite films from the Marvel Universe.

Like Captain America: Civil War — I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this, and I’m watching it because I am always so intrigued by the Bucky storyline. Something about a person’s mind being no longer their own — fighting against programming to regain control, and the struggle that goes along with even recognizing that the control was even put in place, I am very interested in all of these things. It’s very Manchurian Candidate. The psychology of Bucky Barnes is a fascinating thing to me. I should start collecting all comic book issues that have to do with his journey, following what he went through in war, before and after being captured by the Nazis and turned into the Winter Soldier, and his gradual resurfacing. We all change and grow over time, but for Bucky Barnes, the choice of how and when he was changing (and for what purpose) was taken from him, as it is for so many in areas of conflict. The actions he took and crimes he committed still live in his memory, a reality he has no choice in living with. He exists in a permanent state of grey, eventually fighting toward the lighter side in his actions and choices (e.g., not killing the armed men sent to kill him).

I am fascinated by grey. Rayvin, the protagonist in The Talbot Trilogy, exists in some grey, as well. She’s forced into cohabitation with a terrible supernatural being and recognizes the awfulness of her situation, but some part of her also enjoys it, I think. And she hates that she enjoys it, because she knows it’s wrong for her to have the small moments of joy that de Sade gives her. It’s not just the sex, though that’s a big part of it — I think that she, like many people, feels a degree of comfort or security on some level, at least for a little while, when the boundaries are clearly demarcated, even if they’re against her will. If someone else is calling the shots and you have no choice in your responses, there’s a moral relief somewhere in there. Rayvin could honestly say, “It wasn’t my fault.” And then she could choose to dive deeper into the morass, submitting wholly to the power being wielded over her, or fight back with full knowledge of the awful consequences that would come next: physical pain, emotional torment, and death — hers, and that of others.

Bucky Barnes makes me think of Anakin Skywalker, too, and his transformation or slip into Darth Vader. That moment when he chooses to stop fighting against being selfish and allow corruption to fuel, guide, or inform his actions, it’s so recognizable. But the difference between Bucky and Anakin is that the former is overtly brainwashed, while the young Darth Vader is fully aware of what he should and should not be doing, yet chooses the dark path. And his reasons for doing so are complicated. It’s a very human condition to want to give in to the easiest way, take the road that’s of most benefit to the self, and once you’re there, maybe it’s a point of pride or saving face to refuse to admit that the choice was wrong. Bucky, at least, can say that he didn’t choose corruption, but it is no less uncomfortable to be him.

Moral ambiguity, corruption, power and selfishness — these are themes that have been repeating in the media for months. Maybe mind control could be added to them, when we consider how much choices of media are said to influence people’s perspectives and values. Where there are two opposing views, and each side proclaims the other to be wrong, declaring that the evidence is overly biased / false / doctored / exaggerated, it gets hard to know what’s real anymore.

This is what makes me write. What makes me want to write. Every story has a degree of truth, an exploration of humanity. I want to know what is inside Bucky Barnes and how he gains the strength to fight his conditioning, cope with his memories, and move forward trying to do positive things. How did it feel for Anakin Skywalker, when he gave into the fear and despair and turned against all of his training, knowing what the choice would do to him? How much is what we tell ourselves truth, and how much do we fool ourselves to keep from hurting (ourselves / others) and dealing with the consequences of poor choices coming to light?


4 thoughts on “What Makes Me Write

  1. tarafoxhall says:

    Good blog, Tor. I think you have something, in that people like clearly defined permissions, even if they are not of their own choosing. Its the release of responsibility for having to make a choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Tar! I keep thinking, about that release of responsibility — who ends up feeling guilty about not using their free will and fights back, who feels guilty but doesn’t fight (maybe perceiving [rightly or wrongly] that it’s no use), and who doesn’t feel guilty about it at all? I think the differences are significant.


  2. Stan says:


    Good post. I enjoyed it. And I know how you feel – life sometimes gets in the way and I certainly haven’t written as much in the past year as I would like. I also enjoyed how you want to know why a person does what they do, or why they think the way they do. I think those are important questions for any writer who is trying to write believable characters. I wish you much luck in your writing!


    Liked by 1 person

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