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  • melissaolthoff4

What Do You Want Out Of Writing?

The night before a con starts is usually my favorite. It's quiet, calm, and a chance to catch up with friends before the craziness starts. Because once a con gets in full swing, it's usually quick meetups, snatches of conversation, and harried requests for coffee (oh, wait, that's meeeeee). The night before though. . . oh man, some of the BEST conversations happen. It's like gathering around a campfire and having those deep talks -- everything from how to save the world, to what's your favorite Digimon. . . but it's a hotel lobby, and there's no campfire. Details.

So there I was, hanging out in the lobby (sadly sans campfire) the night before Marscon started, when a good friend of mine asked one of those deep questions -- what do you want out of writing? And not money or fame, but really *want*? My first answer was the same one I always give, I love writing because it's fun and it will stay that way or I will light things on fire (simmer down, Maddy). But he rightly pointed out that I was answering a different question, why do I write, not what I want out of it. Huh. I was stumped, because I'd never really given it much thought.

It took me a little bit to come up with an answer that resonated. At first, it was I want readers to have an emotional response to my stories and characters. But that wasn't quite right. And then it hit me. In all honesty? I want to bring my readers joy. I want them to come away feeling hopeful after reading one of my stories. And I know this sounds all kinds of corny, but fuck it. I want my readers to feel like love and the power of friendship have a place in adult fiction, that it's not just for Saturday morning cartoons, that the good guys can win in the end (no matter how evil the author. . . I mean, the villain is). When I told the CKP audience at Marscon my 4HU novel, Companions In Chains, was about Science Guild mindfuckery, the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP, and one very grumpy catsassin, I meant it. Calling it the power of friendship is fun and definitely corny lol, but isn't that what so many of our stories are about? The lengths the protagonists will go for their friends, their chosen family? Why? Because it's a reflection of real life. Ask any veteran what they were fighting for, and it usually boils down to the guys standing next to them. So what do I want out of writing? I want to bring ya'll joy and hope. I think we could all use a little more of that in our lives.

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