This is a bit of a downer post. But I don’t know that it should be, really. I think I’m just in a downer kind of mood and focusing on things that will keep me there. It happens.
Anyway, to get to the point: it seems that the stuff I like writing about – really emotional stuff – and really want to be visceral and realistic and mature – would probably be absolutely fantastic if I’d written it for a soap opera.
Yeah I dunno, maybe it’s fine; maybe it’s a first draft and just needs more work. Maybe I need more ‘life experience’. But that’s how I’m feeling right now: that all of my heartfelt emotional viscera can only articulate itself in writing as melodramatic pulp. Perhaps I just have no idea what I’m talking about, despite what I think I understand. There are few things as soul-crushingly disappointing as finding out that you’re nowhere near as good – however you measure that – as you think you are.
So I guess if I decide I want to write for Mills and Boon again, all I have to do is come up with a story that means something to me and that I want to be really serious and realistic, and I’ll know I’m on the right track.
But on the other hand … I mean I do enjoy writing this stuff, however it turns out. I enjoy the choices of words I use, the specific language. True, I’d like to be less wordy, but that’s another solution that drafting provides. So even if it is ‘garbage’, if I enjoy writing it … and if I’m good at writing it …
Maybe I need to write some melodrama, intentionally.
Maybe I’d really enjoy it.
And hey, that stuff sells like hotcakes, right?
I dunno. I have this idea that if I just insist on being serious, eventually it will manifest in my writing. If I just keep trying, surely my sheer force of will and want will eventually bring me the desired success. But maybe I’m just deluding myself. And maybe it’s not actually what I want anyway. Maybe I just want to have some dumb fun.
Speaking of which, I have recently decided that I’m going to turn my initial prediction of how Twilight was going to end, from my assumptions after seeing the first film, into a series of metacritical erotic vampire novels. So maybe this is what I’ve been waiting for all along.
I don’t know. I don’t feel like I should enjoy melodrama – or settle for it being all I’m good at writing, because I love realism and ‘naturalistic’ characters and stories and want to be able to do it myself. And simultaneously, I don’t really feel good about suggesting that melodrama is synonymous with ‘something nobody should enjoy if they have any measure of self-respect’, because judging people by what kind of stories they like is pretty shallow, I feel.
And again, maybe it’s fine, and maybe I’m just being hyper-critical, and my writing is just as true-to-life as I fantastise about it being.
On the other hand … if I can do both …
I don’t think I’d complain if I was good at both …
And maybe effort is enough to get there in the end. Maybe wanting it badly enough helps. Maybe I just need to look in more directions in order to find it, to compliment this wanting.
It’s always the unknown that trips you up, especially when you think you know it, to the point where you kind of take it for granted. But to be fair, I’ve felt this way about my writing ever since I saw Before Sunrise, and then there were films like 13,and shows like Prime Suspect and The Office, and it just seemed so unattainable, that level of believability, of validity – of credibility. And of course Neil Gaiman, and then The Changeover, and how they brought that to the fantasy genre, which is exactly what I’m trying to do with Tallulah …
And it’s not like things that aren’t written ‘true to life’ can’t actually be ‘true to life’ – stories are symbolic, after all, and if the story is something people relate to, the truth will be read into it. And whether that’s done in dramatic, melodramatic, operatic, realistic, or any other kind of prose, if it works, then that’s a story that’s done its job. I guess I just want to be known as a writer who can write really believable characters with really believable conflicts and responses and motivations and all that stuff. And I guess I should know that ‘believable’ and ‘realistic’ are not the same thing. Realism is just one way of doing things.
I don’t know. But maybe this conflict is okay to just have. Maybe it’ll make me try harder, and look closer at what I’m writing.
That sounds about right, actually.
I still feel pretty shaken. It’s kind of silly, how much I still invest in my own writerly self-image.
I say while watching the ‘Kiss The Girl’ music video, Ashley Tisdale’s rendition no less.
Vampire fiction away!