Sarah A. Hoyt is a prolific and well-regarded science fiction author, having been awarded the Prometheus Award in 2011 for her novel Darkship Thieves. The award has been given annually since 1979 (well, regularly since 1982) by the Libertarian Futurist Society. It was at her urging that I decided to offer several of my books as eBooks for the Kindle. She recently asked for an opportunity to do guest posts on the blogs of anyone who was willing, as a kind of “blog tour” for her forthcoming books. So I offered and to my great surprise she accepted.
by Sarah A. Hoyt
My favorite Christmas song is The Little Drummer Boy. This is actually relevant.
You see, I spent a great portion of my life – since I was about six – fighting very hard against the idea that I was supposed to be a writer.
The signs were there: easy fluency with words, ideas that attacked when you least expected it, a tendency to go off on complex day dreams. More importantly there was the need to write.
But even though people talk of vocations outside religion, of vocations outside the choice of whether to marry or not, most of us, of course, never think about that.
Writing seemed to be too easy (ah!) a thing for me to do, and doing it an indulgence. More than that, it appeared to me, at the height of my teen years, completely useless. I could be an engineer or a doctor. I WANTED to be something that counted.
It turned out for reasons of circumstance or aptitude, that was not, after all, me. No, my aptitude was for this silly thing and mostly for writing fantastic stories that no one could – possibly – be interested in.
But it was all I could do well – all I had to bring to the table (or before the manger if you prefer.)
When I accepted that, and stopped fighting was when I discovered how very challenging and difficult writing was, and, at the same time, how very much out of my hands.
Sometimes, when ideas come – what my son because of some medical blog calls SOCMOB after the way people who come to the emergency room all shut up start their stories, “I was Standing On the Corner, Minding my Own Business when two bad dudes….” – I am SOCMOB, doing something else, minding my own business.
And then, there is the idea, beating me about the face and head and demanding to be written.
Other times, I reach for the idea, and there is nothing there.
It is a gift and the meaning of a gift is that you can’t quite control it. You can’t choose to have it in pink because purple is passé. It was given to you in purple (though few people accuse my writing of being purple) and that’s what you have.
I fight some of my stories a lot – A Few Good Men (coming out in March) – probably most of all, because I’m still not sure to whom it will appeal. But it wouldn’t leave me alone, and I wrote it, and my publisher liked it. Others, like Darkship Renegades, (came out in December) I had to approach four times before I could see it completely. And Noah’s Boy, (coming out in July) was started six (?) years ago, and wouldn’t come out the way I had plotted. No, there must be another story, involving invaders from the stars. Go figure.
I’m not saying I don’t have any control, or that it’s not my duty to learn to do as much as I can, as well as I can. No, that’s part of my duty. I have the drum, and the sticks, but I have to learn to ply them.
… And when I ply them well, the result, though not completely under my control and though always imperfect and perhaps not QUITE worthy to be set before the king, IS a reflection of the Creating Will.
And there’s probably nothing more I can ask.