I don’t know if that’s the case, but it’s probably the key to writing what I want to read, which isn’t terribly helpful. I don’t want to read what I write, or rather, what I’ve written. I already know what’s in there. I want other people to read it, so shouldn’t I be writing what they want instead?
The wisdom goes, though, that trying to write to please others is a surefire way to write boring shit. By writing for myself, I’ll write something with my heart in it. Thankfully, I think there’s a little crossover between what I want to read and what some of you want to read.
Ours Is the Storm and “RAZE” share in that they’re both about monumental failure and tragedy. In Ours Is the Storm, a passionate young man leads entire nations to war over a prophecy that’s a lie; it leads Revik to live his entire life in preparation to be The Chosen One, when in fact he’s anything but. In “RAZE,” our hero is the greatest warrior who ever lived, and yet, when he begins to tell his tale, he’s in a cell, waiting to have his head lopped off in the city plaza.
But what they’re about, as Raze informs us from his voluntary prison cell, is the why?
Everyone wants something specific from their entertainment, be that books, film, music, video games, a walk in the woods, a morning coffee and a plain old newspaper. It’s always something of a mix, but I bet you can boil down why you like something to one or two points. For some it’s knowledge or perspective—we all know that one guy who turns his nose up at the idea of reading fiction. For others it’s wish-fulfillment, and for some it’s escape. There are those who rail against escapism, but it’s a noble goal, I say. Escape. Get out! Find what else is out there, or could be out there. But, it’s not for me. What is the why? When I read, when I watch, when I walk, this is what I want to know, and so here we are.
Why do we toil away at school, a job, a dream, day after day? When that dream eludes us, when our perfect job remains out of grasp no matter how many certifications and degrees and hours upon hours go into seeking after it? Ours Is the Storm was my answer, or rather, my much expanded question. Revik’s entire life has been for one purpose: to become a hero of prophecy. A savior. Ahi’rea’s has been more nebulous, seemingly impossible: to oppose prophecy, to beat a foe who’s unbeatable, to save a people who are unsaveable. Why go on? Why fight? “Why, Mister Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?” For Revik, why even try? Prophecy has decreed what will be and what won’t. So what happens, I wondered, when none of what the heroes believe is true? What do they do when everything they’ve worked for, everything they’ve faced, comes to naught? And more importantly, why go on? Why persevere?
Raze, at the start of the web serial of the same name, is old. He’s tired. And he’s in a cage. He bluntly informs the reader he’s not in the mood to fuck about:
I swear to truthfulness, in recording of thought and deed. I am old and have no time for fabrications or exaggerations. When I tell you that I broke the Prime of Avandeil, I broke him. When I claim to have stolen the fleet of Red Kharcos, you may alert her, finally, as to the culprit’s name. When I say I drove the dead out of Silverime, rest assured, it is so. When I say I am still a fool, you may take it as, at least, a very strong opinion.
I am greatest swordsman the world has ever known.
“It is the why” he informs us next. He’s in that cell of his own accord, awaiting his death because he chooses to. The rest of the serial—so far, about sixty thousand words and likely to span the length of several novels—will be about, yeah, you guessed it: WHY? (And yes, I know, at least in Raze’s case. I don’t have it written yet, but I know). You’ll have to find out in bite-size portions, every Monday when the next post goes live.
“What is the why?” Michael Chabon’s Clay asks his Kavalier when they discuss the origins and motivations of their superhero, The Escapist. Frankenstein’s monster wonders why he is alone. Why must we believe in fantasies about the Hogfather or the Veruca Gnome, Susan asks Death in Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. “AS PRACTICE,” Death answers.
YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
What is the why?
Why do I write what I do?
Because I want to know why, and I think some of you do, too.
(D. Thourson Palmer’s Ours Is the Storm is on Kindle Countdown for $0.99 from Sunday March 5th through Saturday March 11th. It’s just been re-released in a new second edition, complete with a map, redesigned cover, and more. Take a look at Amazon.com. When you’ve done that, check out his free, weekly, ongoing epic fantasy web serial RAZE HERE. Lastly, SIGN UP HERE for emails to get the updates as they’re released and for deals on new books.