The first time I met her I was just a boy. There was no build-up, just a surprise discovery when I began putting one word after another to create a one-page epic about a prince who became a knight to save the day. It was only one page because I had to put a carot at the end to make the one word fit. Even then I hated to leave one word on a blank page.

As a child I played with my action figures for the large part of the day, and the rest I would find a stick and fight off the English with William Wallace. I kicked imaginary butt in my younger years. As I grew flirting with Fiction, mostly by acting out the ideas in my head, I fell deeper and deeper in love with it.

What was it that made me willingly sit at a desk and for how many hours be writing on something absolutely ridiculous. Incredibly daring fights on the high seas with pirates, and wild west shootouts. They all found their way out of my mind and onto the paper. I fell more in love with Fiction. It ran deeper than just making things up and putting it on paper or a computer (much later in my writing career), but something that had to be explored. I’ll never truly know why I began writing to such an extent, or even at all.

What I did find out was that Lady Fiction is slightly fickle. I discovered that if you want to become rich or attract members of the opposite sex, maybe find something else. If you believe that you can sit down and instantly know what to write and do so without interruption…Fiction isn’t for you. She is hard to pin down and even harder to understand.

If you think your work will become the greatest anyone has ever seen, you don’t understand Fiction’s priorities. Fiction is not to be ranked but enjoyed. Fiction doesn’t care what you do to pay the bills, only that you show up. You’re not ranked as The Greatest Writer but someone may like you enough to be their greatest writer.

I think the biggest mistake of my relationship with Fiction was trying to conform it to what the market wanted. The market, I learned, doesn’t exist. What does exist is what Fiction desires to say through you. One of the best things is being able to be used as a vessel for something to be said. For writer’s that is the reality. We’ve flirted with Fiction in one way or another, and then she grasped us and said, “I have something to say through you.” And what do we have to say other than, “Here am I”?

We’re not just telling stories because that’s not what Fiction’s aim is; but rather a reflection of what/who humanity is or has become. In any subgenre of fiction (including non-fiction) there is the faults of humanity is shown through the characters.

Stories are all over the place and the writer must open themselves up to be the vessel they must be to pour out what Fiction has to say to them.

Ethan H. Gaines was born in Southern California but was raised in the Flathead Valley of Montana, where he has since enjoyed the outdoors the country has to offer. He has held a variety of jobs that has lend perspective in his writings. He has been published on Screen Anarchy, Moviepilot, and Vocal Media. Ethan resides in Kalispell with his wife and three children.

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