Two years ago, I wrote this in response to the #WhyIWrite hashtag: “Because I love telling stories, and I love sharing them with everyone. Simple as that.”
I’ve thought it over today, now that the hashtag has reappeared, and I’ve come to realize it’s not that simple.
The world seems to be getting darker and crueler day by day. A lot of fantasy fiction that’s coming out nowadays reflects that – gloomy settings, hopeless causes, gray and gray morality. I won’t criticize anyone for writing or reading those books, and I’m sure some of them are very good.
That’s not what I want to read. Or write.
As silly as it might sound, especially at a time like this, I want books with hope. Characters that want to help others and make the world around them better. Stories that inspire, or at least make you smile and laugh and root for the heroes. Frodo and Sam in Mordor, Cimorene seeking to be free of the role forced on her, Rincewind or Tiffany Aching trying to do the right thing in absurd or tough conditions, Master Li and Number Ten Ox persevering for the sake of children who need help, Harry Potter facing down Voldemort.
The trend I mentioned earlier in fantasy is called “grimdark”. There’s been some debate about whether the opposite should be “noblebright” or “hopepunk”. I’d like to think that those are the stories I tell. Stories where the good guys win (but not always without a cost), where there is a difference between right and wrong, where people of every stripe are represented, where love is love and love beats hate. Where there’s hope that things will be better when all is said and done.
My stories may not make a difference in the world, but they’re what I want to read and share. And that’s why I write.