I am used to imagining the ways that dragons think and respond to humans, to change, and to challenges. For years, I studied dragon lore and felt the need to write my own story about them, which I did; and while two novels about the dragons that inhabit my mind have been published, I am still writing about them. Why? Because I have more to say. In a way, I have just begun to tell their story. Aurykk, the golden dragon, and his nephew Draaco, call my name and I answer, but not without feeling some anxiety and hesitation. It’s that darn opening paragraph.
A member of the Chicago Writers’ Association, Andrew Reynolds, once posted a blog entry that summarized responses to a question he threw out to the membership: Why [do] we write? His post: “[W]hen the question popped up as part of a discussion about writing among a group of writers I am associated with online, I thought it might be a good idea to see what motivated my fellow writers.” Andrew elicited many writers’ interesting responses, which he published in his January 9, 2015 post. The answers to his question varied, but essentially they said all of the writers need to write.
I used to think that once I completed and published Malevir: Dragons Return and Where Dragons Follow, short stories, reviews, and essays, plus a poem or two, I would feel I’d done it, tried it, liked it, would feel satisfied and move on; but now more than ever I, too, need to keep on writing; BUT and it’s an uppercase ‘but’ as you see, I enjoy the process of writing for my blog Susan Bass Marcus Writes more (https://susanbassmarcus.net.) Here’s why:
A blog is shorter. My first novel has more than 400 pages, not including illustrations and glossary.
A blog is pithier. The sentences and paragraphs work at honing one idea. My novels have several themes, like loyalty, finding courage, and cooperation that contrast with modes of fear-mongering, deceit, and oppression.
Blogs focus on the writer, her processes, or her observations and as food blogger and author, David Lebovitz has said so well, blogs are about giving–to the reader. A blog is out there, immediately available to readers (if they choose to read it and, better yet, if they deign to comment on it). The process of publishing a book is long and arduous, at least the first time around.
On a practical note, my blog only costs me a minuscule fee once a year. A self-published novel can cost a lot more, with the exception of eBooks.
Novels often explore a set of characters in depth, be they heroes or monsters, and describe their context, their motivations, and their choices as they drive the narrative. Short stories do the job more quickly, based as they often are on a tight situation or set of circumstances. My blog posts target their subjects even more closely. The one exception is a first draft of my serialized novella, in 20 posts, about feline-like aliens looking for refuge on Earth.
Setting aside time to write a blog post gives me an excuse to put off working on another novel, the third and final book in the ‘Malevir’ series. When dragons call, I could wad cotton into my ears, say, “nah-nah-nah,” and ignore their trumpeting. That wouldn’t be right. I need to listen to them and write their story, without fear or hesitation. I should have learned that much from dragons.