Writing is very similar to Crime Solving

On the evening of the Amazon Kindle Press publication, some thoughts about writing in general. Five for Forever is my eighth or ninth novel that I published, and most of the topics were in the crime/suspense/thriller topical area.  If being asked "Why do you write books?" there is an analogy to crime solving. Means, Opportunity, and Motive—the magic triangle of detection work.

What do means, opportunity, and motive actually mean?

  • Means: "It was your gun, that was used to kill your wife, Sir."
  • Opportunity: "You were seen entering the house by a reliable witness, Sir."
  • Motive: "We understand you are the beneficiary of your late wife's substantial life insurance, Sir."

And writing nowadays as an independent author is very similar to these three factors:

The Means of independent writing - with the advent of electronic books and electronic market places new distribution possibilities were opening up for independent authors. In former times, you had to spend a lot of money to get your manuscript into shape, and have it printed, too, in a small number, which you were forced to hard-sell locally or privately. With the big publishing platforms like Smashwords, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, or Pronoun, the whole process became easier and cheaper. Add to that print-on-demand services like Createspace, and you have most channels covered. Hence, also my personal decision to make use of these services to make my own works public.

The Opportunity to write - When you want to be a writer, there is no excuse not to write. I understand if days are full with job, family, friends, and other important things, there is few time to sit down and write. But life is also full of other things, where you could argue, do I really need to spend my time with this? Watching TV is one. Consuming the internet in a mind-less manner (keyword: cat videos). Reinstalling something on your computer which you might never use? Playstation time...  The list can go on and on. When you are a writer, write instead of watching TV, surfing, or gaming. For me, my opportunity arose, when I started a new job that offered much less travel, and gave me 50 minutes of daily commute both ways. Time to write. Reprioritize other activities and you suddenly are able to produce a few thousand words a day in active writing.

The Motive, the big why. I have always been a creative person and creating things is in my blood. For many years, music had been the creative outlet, then, later in life, writing took over. No preference, really. I could even see myself as a painter, even though I am lacking any workmanship around technique and style. The book is a much closer medium to my heart, as I am an avid reader myself. Creative outlet, motivation number one. But there is also a second motivation, the Plan B in life. Is there a chance, a slim chance, that writing could become a profession? Replacing the plan A, financially? Any Plan B must start somewhere. Write books, show that you are able to produce 60.000, 80.000, 100.000 words in a coherent and consistent manner. Year after year. Learn the trade of wordsmithing. Do I have it in me? Do I have the creative ideas in me to generate 1-2 books a year? Develop a series? Deliver a stand-alone book? Various genres? See a development? That is a motive, right.

There you have it. Means, Opportunity, and Motive!