I hate it when stories take on lives of their own.
Well – no. I don’t. But it comes with this sense of obligation, that I can’t do whatever I want anymore, because this story now suddenly has needs that I’m responsible for meeting. Or that’s how it feels anyway.
Well what about my needs? You can’t just turn up uninvited and insist that I just drop everything to accommodate you. I wasn’t even trying to write you; I was trying to write an entirely different story, so really I don’t owe you anything.
It doesn’t feel that way, though. It feels like a guilt-trip.
I wonder if this is what being a parent is like.
So basically my frivolously and shamelessly derivative YA project has taken on its own identity out of nowhere and … well, that’s not true, either. When I insisted on putting pre-existing characters in it, that’s when it started going downhill. In all honesty I should have just started it off as a fanfic. It would have felt more honest, in a way. Although of what? I kind of wanted to use it to have a place for my fanfic plot to go that might actually be published one day, but that’s just more importing of pre-existing ideas.
Then again, the whole point of this project was to have fun appropriating pre-existing ideas anyway. Just not my pre-existing ideas.
The other issue, though, was watching a critique of City of Bones as a film by the Nostalgia Chick, whom I adore and tend to agree with on everything, especially the snarky, sardonic manner in which her opinions are delivered. This, though, really killed my mojo; she was going on about how, compared to the book, the adaptation was really joyless, treated its audience like idiots, didn’t carry over the sense of humour or fun from the book, and also mentioned something about an ‘oversaturation of the market’ in terms of YA paranormal romance and why the film flopped. Which was just, like, a massive downer.
I mean I know it’s a terrible movie; I knew it was a terrible movie the first time I saw it, but that’s part of why I enjoyed watching it so much, and part of why it rekindled that unselfconscious joy I used to take in borrowing other people’s ideas for my own stories, because those stories had things in them that I really liked and I was not second-guessing myself about liking them – I don’t know why this affected me the way it did, took the wind out of my sails. I think it was that ‘oversaturation’ talk. Nobody will want to buy my super-iterative YA action/comedy/horror/romance/sci-fi/thriller novel. What is the point in anything.
Anyway, at the present moment I’ve decided to not bother writing these chapters in order, and to just go really predictable, and so far it’s working okay. It still doesn’t feel quite as shamelessly indulgent as I’d like, but it’s been a long time since I let myself do that. And in a sense I prefer it that way. I feel more mature or whatever for not just doing whatever I feel like.
But it also sucks, because that only really matters when it affects other people. This doesn’t affect other people; this is me writing something for my own pleasure. Or it was, anyway, until I superego-ed out over it. Any kind of indulgent activity is inherently contaminating to my hard-earned adult mental integrity or whatever.
What a load. But my brain seems to buy it.
So I guess I’m going to have to fight myself on this one. The other reason for not writing chapters in order is because, honestly, I have a premise and I have some ideas for a coherent plot, but they’re all fragmented at the moment, so I may as well write the story to suit that layout, right? This will be the first time I’ve ever written something in a non-linear form. And I may even end up keeping those first chapters that I wrote, who knows. I’ve got a couple of scenes in mind right now, so I’ll get those down …
As for Tallulah – that took on a life of its own, which was something I finally started accepting the other day, and I actually like that it’s done that. And I’m sure I’ll like it when this story does it as well. I just want to get out of my own way first and do this thing the way I wanted to: self-indulgently. I want to get used to feeling comfortable with doing that again, and not blowing it up into some big moralistic thing where it means I’m some kind of failed person for not thinking about artistic and literary integrity, because those things are just code-words for ‘elitism’ anyway. Artistic integrity is doing art for the sake of the art itself, and that’s exactly what this project started out as.
Anyway … Tallulah … life of – yes, that’s right; I like that it’s taken on its own identity, and it’s part of why I couldn’t quite get into the revision – I was changing too much of what it was, and I realised that, actually, it’s fine to just let it be what it is and work with that, instead of trying to impose my pre-determined notions of what it should be onto it. Having said that, there’s a lot of areas in which some of those ideas may help to strengthen the story as it currently is, or the direction it’s heading in anyway. But I’m happy enough to let it go now, to run ahead of me, so to speak, while I watch its back.
As for this new one – since I don’t have a story yet, I’m not going to try and write one. I’ll just write what I’ve got, and see what happens.
Also I’m not quite used to the idea that I don’t have to go in to uni for the next two weeks. But I did go for a 65-minute walk today, of which I was very proud. I’ll try and do it again tomorrow.
And I bought five paranormal YA novels online, including City of Bones, Vampire Academy and Wake. That ought to get me my mojo back.