I came up with a five-part series of novels over the course of four hours today. All because I saw City of Bones. It didn’t really hold up on a second viewing; I couldn’t help but notice the glaring holes, the fact that half of the characters seemed utterly superfluous (probably more important and fleshed-out in the books), and how, for outsiders, unless you’re willing to just tell yourself ‘Harry Potter + Buffy’ and be content, it does nothing to draw you into the world of the Shadowhunters or tell you how it works. But the fact that it reminded me of how much fun I used to have making stuff up, and moved me to actually try my hand at that style of story-building once again, is something I will forever be grateful to it for. I like this new story; it’s fresh, it’s new, it’s quite obviously derivative of a number of different things, and I don’t care because it’s fun.
And then the inevitable flipside – it makes the stress I’m going through with Tallulah feel even worse that it probably is. That I’m over-thinking everything and that’s why I’m getting stuck, that I’m punching above my weight and as such losing out on solidarity while trying to reach a goal that is just beyond my current level of competence, and that I should be settling for what I’m able to do instead.
A contrast between two things makes their differences seem more exaggerated than they may actually be, of course, so I’m trying not to worry about this. These are two different projects in two different states of their respective processes: this new story is literally like 14 hours old whereas I’ve been working on Tallulah, if we include the day I came up with it, for two years and nine months, give or take a week or so. I do think, though, that I could stand to take a step back from the perfectionism with Tallulah.
I’ve already experienced my newer storytelling habits for this new story coming into effect: I couldn’t just let it be fun and derivative – I had to say something with it, too. I’m trying to keep it low-key so that I can focus more on just messing around and doing things that I enjoy – but that’s the thing; I do enjoy ‘saying something’ with my stories. I couldn’t just let the characters be stock characters; I had to at least niggle the dynamics a bit and make something that I hadn’t really seen before out of their little team, even if it’s not super-original.
But this is as close to writing YA as I’ve come since I was myself a Young Adult, and it really does feel fun. I want to write this thing, like, now. Before I go ahead and make it complicated.
Nah. I don’t mind making things complicated. But the simplicity is nice, for now at least. I guess I’ll just see how it goes when I actually sit down to write it, but I want to allow myself to write some ‘straight-up’ genre fiction for this one. Use the tropes, play by the rules, and then play with them too, of course. Why avoid making things interesting?
Tallulah is not going to stop being written. I can’t stop. That’s how it feels – not as in I’d feel bad if I stopped, but as in I can’t stop writing it any more than I can stop having skin. I like this state of affairs. I’ve got some inner reserve of momentum working for me, obviously. I will try and pump out a first chapter – or the first few chapters – of this new thing, and try and take it a bit easier with Tallulah while also finishing up the first stage of my current revision plan, which is restricted to the first five chapters. I think this new one is one that I actually want to plan out, to structure thoroughly beforehand and really stick to what I take to be the YA formula, so that I’ve got something really solid to then play with.
And for some reason, actually, being excited about this story is making me more excited about Tallulah as well.
I think I’m very slowly – very slowly – becoming one of those people who is always doing a million things and yet always seems to have free time to do little things on the side.
And it seems that the trick – as I thought, though I didn’t know how it could be true – is to just do lots of things at once. The time will reveal itself if you find something that you need it for.
I assume that this reserve of unused time will run out, just logistically, but for now it hasn’t.
For now, I really like this.