A friend of mine is often volunteering their time in social programs that aid the poor, so it was daunting when they asked what do I accomplish by writing books. This friend has already made the world a much better place. For example, they’ve built homes in third world countries, donated tons of money to the homeless, helped numerous fundraisers do the same, etc. I may have made that list small but that’s all stuff I’ve never done before. I believe it’s important to leave the world better than how you found it, but this question struck me hard at first because I wondered, “Am I just writing books for myself, or am I making the world a better place, too?”
After much thought, I finally answered the question: What do I accomplish by writing books? Writing a book in itself is an accomplishment, but it’s a selfish one if just left at that. My purpose for writing has always been because I enjoy it. But now that I’ve mused a bit, I believe I’m accomplishing quite a lot by doing what I love. Already I have inspired many non-readers (friends) to read. I entertain people, help kill time that would’ve otherwise been spent staring at walls. I help to strengthen the economy of several countries by selling books. I create amazing stories that can make people cry and laugh and sing. These are decent things to be proud of, but I believe the most significant thing I am accomplishing is helping to preserve language and culture.
The medieval times fascinate the crap out of me. When I write, I go HARD on the old fashioned vocab! I use medieval words the average reader has never heard before, like arbalest, mangonel and mantelet. I describe my sword fights accurately (using ripostes, parries and remises) and teach my readers things they would otherwise only learn in history text books. When I describe a man going into a castle, I don’t just say “He walked into the castle.” I say “He hailed the guard, waited for the drawbridge and portcullis to free, then entered the bailey and lastly the keep.”
Lately I’ve been adding less magic and more realism to my fantasy with the intention of educating readers and entertaining medievalists. My writing isn’t exactly historical fiction, but I still focus on historical accuracy when I’m describing things. So what am I accomplishing here? Well, imagine a kid who wants to read a good fantasy book. If he picks up one of mine, he’ll be forced to use a dictionary and learn a crap-ton about the Middle Ages. For example, he’ll learn you can’t draw a sword from the back, cuts don’t go through armour, arrows don’t make you fly backward, bows don’t creak, women wore the same armour as men, etc, etc, etc! These are all things movies and video games continue to get wrong.
So my job is not only to entertain and sell books, but it’s to educate and preserve knowledge as well. I haven’t released most of the stuff I’ve written yet, so if you’re reading this now you may ask “Where are these educational books he’s talking about?” But if you subscribe to this blog, you’ll see ’em soon enough. Trust me 🙂 I’ve got many treats comin’ your way! Long live history! Blessed be thy reader! Huzzah!