A to Z Blog Challenge

B is for Because

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Because is a powerful word. It explains the relationship between the event and the outcome. It has the ability to link things in positive ways and it has the destructive power to link things in negative ways. The danger with because is that the connection doesn’t have to be factual. Often it’s a bridge built on perception and perception is always subjective. So because can form a factual explanation or an excuse. Excuses aren’t reasons, they are rationalization for the outcomes we didn’t want or the actions we didn’t take. The sum of all those “because” ultimately define our lives and they also define the writer’s craft.

Whether based on fact or fiction, because seeps into the written work. On a structural level the “because” reveals the writer’s character and commitment to his or her craft. The evidence uncovered in his statements or art— Because “I’ll fix those mistakes later” versus “because I’m not satisfied until I’ve done my best.” “Because I want to be famous” versus “because this is the story I must tell.” “Because I don’t have time to write” versus “because if I don’t write than I am not a writer.”

Socrates said, “the unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Neither is the unexamined author worth reading. I cannot write my best work if I have not examined myself. Without understanding me, I cannot fully understand my characters. How am I to discover why they do what they do if I do not know why I do what I do. How can I use my words to contemplate life’s themes if I have not first sat in honest contemplation of myself? There is no because in a story that does not first exist within me. The best stories don’t examine others, they examine the author. I seldom explore the things I already have answer for because that is an uninteresting journey filled with plastic characters and cliche’d ideas. I want to know “what would love mean in a world of the dead?” “How much would I be willing to sacrifice if the safety of life was gone?” And “what is the psychological outcome when the “because” is because the character has no other option?”

For me life’s biggest “because” is “because everything is intimately— even if invisibly— connected.” That single because links every story I write. It weaves through all the details. It is a part of my DNA so it is part of my writing content. Throughout my stories are connections, some small and some large. Layered characters, places and themes which are sometimes obvious but often hidden. It’s why when I wrote a chapter dealing with the character’s place in the universe, I crafted the word count to be a Fibonacci number (the Golden Ratio) so that the structure represented mathematically the idea in the chapter.

I believe in connections. The physical, the spiritual, the mystical. It goes into all my writing. It’s not right or wrong, better or worse, it’s just me, the writer, staying true to the reason I write. It is the because within the because.

Note: When I committed myself to the A to Z challenge I choose to select the letter topic, but not pre-write the content. In other words, each morning I write it, edit once and post. For that I want to apologies for any rough sentences or grammatical errors, you, the reader must suffer to read. I did it Because I wanted to test my ability to write-on-demand for 26 days.

7 replies »

  1. Raymond, I have to say that part about examining oneself really resonated me. On the way to classes today I was trying to figure out why I like writing female protagonists so much, why they are usually of a couple of types, and why I think I write women better than men (might make a great blog post if I can figure it out). Thanks for giving me some more thought to chew on.

  2. You know, I expect nothing less of you Mr. Overachiever, than you writing and posting these every morning. Good for you. Need a drink? Well, we’re only on B…but let me know when you need me to pour a shot “because” I know you’ll need it.
    …Speaking of “because”…I write what I write because I can, simple. Then I delete it and fix it for the public so my writer’s DNA isn’t judged too harshly lol

  3. because is used in so many ways and it is even used just as one word and often by teens. Love what you have written and good luck to writing every day.

  4. I signed up for the challenge the day before the deadline, so, I’m writing mine fresh every morning, too. I write teen fiction. My blog posts tend to be pretty short. I have boys and they complain when I fail to get to the point:) Enjoyed your posts today. Looking forward to the next month of interesting posts from everyone!

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