Absence

So today I decided to go into town to write. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write; I have a few potential Interim Projects that I could dump my energies into. I also generally meet up with a friend to have breakfast on Wednesdays, but I set my alarm an hour later than I thought I had and ended up missing that, so when I got to the cafe I just sat there and had porridge. I actually really like porridge. And this porridge had milk, banana slices and brown sugar to accompany it, all the better to eat it with.

And while I was there, I came up with like five different Little Red Riding-Hood revisions that I could write.

The reason I did this was twofold. For one – I was in town, and wanted to do something with that opportunity, not being at home and inundated with distractions.

For another, I first had the idea of writing something different, a project of mine called Magician Boogaloo, which is basically Realm of the Myth, the fantasy epic that I gave up on last year and then had all the ideas for and nowhere to put them, in a new, episodic package. I knew the characters, I knew the first episode, I was prepared in every particularity to write this thing.

Two things happened.

One: I realised, or re-realised, how much the main character was an Author Avatar and literally felt sick at the prospect of writing him. So that’s something I need to look into – and also the whole premise of this series being ‘take stuff that used to go somewhere else and put it in here’, because I’m sure fresh ideas are probably better.

Two: I felt guilty about writing other characters who weren’t Tallulah.

That second one I think is kind of cute; it’s the kind of thing I would think of as ‘cute’ if I heard a friend talking about it, so I’ll go ahead and apply it to myself as well. And that’s kind of inevitable; I’ve been writing her for a year, and while I know she’s still an experiment at this stage, I’m still incredibly fond of her. I’m very much attached. And now I have to postpone our next engagement until I get the feedback and mindset needed to improve her story.

So, in short, Little Red Riding-Hood actually worked for me as an idea because she isn’t my character; this is like taking a vacation, basically, in terms of writing characters – I can just skip on out to somebody else’s creation and do my own thing with it, and see what comes of it.

I have also considered – for the first time since I was about 20 – returning to fan-fiction. For the purposes of distraction. Playing with other people’s stories is such good learning for telling your own, whether that’s through reading/watching the story as an audience member, analysing and critiquing it as a reviewer, or putting your own spin on it as a revisionist – which does include fan-fiction. And to be honest, if I think of allowing myself to write fan-fiction, the whole idea loses its appeal – it’s more the fact that I wasn’t allowing myself to write it that made it feel interesting.

Actually, maybe Twilight. I never quite gave up on my personal vision for what that story could have been.

But in any case, I’m at a point now where I’m still in Tallulah-mode but am not allowed to write any more Tallulah, because the draft is done, and it needs to sit. I need to go back and read the draft myself, and I need to collect feedback from my Beta Readers and process it, and I need to get into the mindset of looking at story structure critically, which is what I’m using my other blog for, and to also have it be a creative mindset, because the story needs to be improved, not simply downsized or ‘edited’ in that sense – it needs to grow, so I need both critical and creative tools at my disposal. So LRRH is serving as the ‘creative’ side of this brain-exercising coin; in particular, I want to see if I’m creative enough to come up with an adaptation that actually doesn’t have sex in it in any capacity without also making it ‘dry’ or ‘sanitised’ or whatever – our culture seems to have a certain ‘thing’ for this particular fairytale, and after all, it did start off as a cautionary tale to young women, I believe. So we’ll see just how far I can push myself here.

And this also has the distinct advantage of not feeling like I’m betraying Tallulah by writing other characters instead, and really, seeing as I do need to write something in the interim, that’s perhaps the most important thing.

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