Does writing change the author? Do you think your writing has changed you in any significant way?
I believe it’s a mutual change. Writing does change me, but, as I change, so does my writing. (Hopefully, for the better. LOL) Most of the stories I write require me to research some place, some technology, animal, or just the human condition. The very nature of research expands the mind, and we are never quite the same. Constantly learning means we are constantly growing, whether we’re aware of it or not. This changes our view of the world even if it may be very slight. Those slight changes alter our perceptions and, perhaps, result in a different reaction than how we would’ve reacted in the past. Small changes eventually lead significant differences. I like to think this is positive. (I could be deluding myself. That has been known to happen sometimes. 😉 )
A perfect example of this is my novel Snow Spirits. This story is set in China in the early 1960s, but it truly begins at the end of WWII in Unit 731, a Japanese medical experimentation camp. When I studied WWII in high school, we focused mainly on the European battles. I was aware of thee Pacific theater and battles there, but I knew very little about what actually happened in the Far East and how the countries there were affected by the war. My knowledge of this expanded significantly in order for me to write this story. Then I had to study the culture and find out more about China in the early 60s, not really that easy. I learned about their invasion of Tibet, their treatment of the Uyghur (before it became “popular”), and about the Tibetan people. All of it was fascinating, and I have a deeper appreciation of the freedoms we have and the hardships these people face. It’s why this story took me over two years to write, but I also think it’s the best one I’d written up to that time. There is no doubt my view of China shifted with that research.
Research isn’t the only thing that can affect an author’s view of the world. Each character is different with different needs, personalities, dreams, and obstacles to overcome. In order to write a riveting tale, we have to immerse ourselves in the characters, their plights, their triumphs, everything about them while we write (most of us don’t “become” them or think like them when not writing). How can you not be changed when you’ve walked a mile, so to speak, in your character’s shoes? It’s humbling, invigorating, and amazing. It’s exhilarating and sad to type “The End.” But I am never the same after writing the book.
My current WIP will end up as a novella-length story for an anthology. I’m living my dream of being a famous rock star (although not of being a wolf shifter LOL). As I have performed on stage to a few thousand people, I’m able to pull on my stage experience for some of it. This story is different, though, as there are a lot of important secondary characters, all of whom have distinct personalities. It’s challenging to write, but it’s fun. Perhaps I’ll walk away feeling like I’ve lived vicariously as a famous rock star through Asta, the main character’s name. 😀 I haven’t had to research anything . . . yet. There’s still plenty of time for that, though. I’m less than 10,000 words in, so that could change at any time. LOL
So, dear authors, if you don’t write, but are rather an avid reader, do you feel that books change you? If so, which book(s) have impacted your life the most?
If you found my blog post interesting, please visit the other authors who are participating in this month’s round robin and find out if, and/ or how, their writing has changed them: