Why I Write and How the Stories Come to Me by M.D. Neu
Why do I write? How do the stories come to me?
It’s kind of funny, to think about these two questions. Why do I find it funny you may wonder? Because I get asked this by people who’ve known me a long time. Friends I’ve known for years and family members who have been around my whole life. So, I get a chuckle out of the question right before I freeze and can’t come up with an answer.
Today, I figured I would try to answer these questions here in an honest and intelligent manner.
When I was a kid I didn’t read very much. I’m dyslexic and reading was, and still is, a challenge for me. I hated reading and writing, but I loved telling stories and talking. I could make up crazy stories off the top of my head and people would listen–which was cool. It distracted folks from the dyslexia and helped me not feel like I was stupid or ‘retarded’ like some kids called me. Plus, I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the attention.
As I got older and had to read and write more for school, I forced myself to find books I liked. I needed the practice and to improve my reading speed if I would survive in school. In High School I got lucky, I had amazing teachers who introduced me to literature works, some good and others not so good. They also took the time to help me with my reading and encouraged my writing.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for some of my amazing English teachers. To them I say thank you.
During this time, I slowly (very slowly) realized I was attracted to boys. Not girls like all my guy friends. This was in the 70s and 80s when there were no openly gay men or women even when I found Stephen King and Star Trek, I loved the worlds they created, but still no people like me. When I found, Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice it was the first time I saw two men together raising a child. Are they a gay couple? If you believe the subtext they sure are. A messed up gay couple, but there it was in writing for the first time in my life. It was amazing.
Then AIDS hit and I remember hearing how gay equaled AIDS, and AIDS equaled death. What does ‘gay’ stand for? Got AIDS Yet. This ‘joke’ bothered me then and bothers me now. However, what AIDS did, after hundreds of thousands of gay men died, was, for good and for bad, it gave us the tragic gay character. I wanted to change this. I needed to change this. So now, I create strong characters that anyone can relate to, that happened to be gay. My characters needed to be so much more than gay! Gay would not be the focus. Which leads me to the second thing I noticed especially in gay fiction. Almost everything I found and still find is gay romance or gay erotica novels. There is nothing wrong with that, but, for me, I wanted more out of my characters. I needed to create something different that would appeal to everyone.
I wanted to see a gay character attack the Death Star and blow it up, be an Officer on the bridge of the Enterprise who had a partner on ship, be the married couple that have to deal with a paranormal attack on their family, and have to flee in the night with their kids, as coffins blew up out of the ground around them. I wanted to see heroic gay characters save the realm and have the audience cheer for them in the theater. No one would bat an eye at the fact that the person the characters were saving weren’t someone of the opposite sex. I wanted to see real gay people living in all these fantastic worlds. That’s why I write.
How do I get these gay people to live in exciting worlds? Well the ideas for my stories come from all around me. They come from family and friends. I see something that will happen and it will spark an idea. Most of the time my ideas start off as the characters talking to me in my dreams. They will come introduce themselves and tell me who they are and what happened to them. When I wake up, I make notes and start from there.
Sometimes the stories will find me at strange times, like when I’m out with family and friends or on vacation. I had this happen with an upcoming story, A Dragon for Christmas. The character, Carmen, jumped into my head and demanded my full attention. We were on vacation and luckily I was in a place where I could sit down and write out all my notes and get her info. She was particularly demanding, but once I got the information together she quieted down and I could return to my vacation.
I know it sounds a bizarre to speak about characters talking to you, but for me that’s how it works. It’s not always just the main characters either. I’ll get background characters or secondary characters who will come forward and tell me about themselves. That happens if they’re not happy with how I’m handling them in the story. I remember I had one secondary character furious with me and wouldn’t quiet down until I heard what she had to say. What I ended up discovering about her made me fall in love with her and now she’s one of my favorite characters to write about.
Okay, I’m sounding a little ‘woo, woo’, as a friend of mine would say, but I think I answered the, how the stories come to me question. So I better stop here. Plus, this went on longer than I thought it would. I hope you’ve gotten to know me and my process a little better.
M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric, his husband of eighteen plus years.
Books by M.D. Neu
A Dragon for Christmas (December 2018)
The Calling (January 2018)