Writers: Nature or Nurture?
By MSW Guest Blogger Grant Blackwood
Blackwood … Brennan … we met at a book signing. At many book signings. And share much in common … namely, we often sit next to authors in the Bs and Cs who have long, curving lines waiting for signatures, while we … don’t. At least, not yet! We’ve been lucky enough to get to know each other over the last few years signing at Thrillerfest. Grant is one of the nicest, most easy-going writers I know and I will happily perch beside him at any conference … or bar. (Yes, writers are known for imbibing once in awhile …) Anyway, Grant is a prolific author who has co-written with some of the absolute greatest authors in the thriller genre — Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, and my friend James Rollins. He also writes his own books! And people ask me when *I* have the time to write! Grant has his own heroic backstory … A U. S. Navy veteran, he spent three years aboard a guided missile frigate as an Operations Specialist and a Pilot Rescue Swimmer. Isn’t that totally cool? So please, give Grant a big MSW welcome!
Do writers come into this world with the “scribe’s spark” or can it be born later through random forces in our lives? It’s a popular and hotly debated question among writers and readers alike.
When I was ten, Irwin Allen style disaster movies such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno were all the rage. I loved them all. So I tried to write one. Its tentative title was “Death in Airtight Tube” and it involved a undersea train tunnel that partially collapses, trapping a slew of fascinating characters in the doomed vehicle. A decent premise, perhaps, but I hadn’t the vaguest concept of the basics — dialogue, point-of-view, exposition, and so on. I was about a thousand words into the story when I got distracted by collecting doodle bugs in my backyard and abandoned the project. The question is, had I decade earlier emerged into this world with the desire to tell stories? I have no idea. And I don’t think anyone else does either — about themselves or about anyone else.