So, I drafted up a lengthy plan for my new YA project last night and felt all smart and stuff, and then woke up today with the unshakable feeling that I’d made a huge mistake.
This story idea came together from a number of different things, and one of them was that fan fiction idea. It doesn’t work; it makes things really heavy and puts the focus on foreshadowing rather than development right at the start, and I hate Origin Story-style First Episodes/Novels/Movies, the ones that don’t feel like they’re complete or able to stand on their own.
But mostly it’s because I tried to impose existing ideas onto this new one, and what I’ve learnt is that this new one is, in fact, a new one. I may think it’s derivative and trope-heavy – and it is – but that doesn’t mean it’s literally other existing stories smushed together. Because, for one thing, that’s plagiarism, but for another thing it doesn’t require any creative thought. This mix-up is the first time this mix-up has existed, and it is thus a new thing, and it deserves to be treated as such.
And it’s so ‘normal’ to my mind that it basically writes itself. It’s genre ficiton; I don’t need a plan, because I know the plan, and if I trip up while drafting, well, I always do that anyway, it’s not a big deal. Some details, like setting, are probably quite important, but beyond that? I don’t need to know.
The biggest problem with my plan, though, was actually even simpler than all of that: it was just not a particularly happy story.
And I’ve realised today that, for a change, I want to write something light, something fun, something, yes, happy, critical appraisal be damned.
That’s another thing – stories that are ‘literary’ or ‘sophistocated’ don’t generally tend to be happy. Or, rather, they don’t tend to be light. I used to write comedies for crying out loud. All of my early stuff was very much comedy-driven, and you know what, some of it was pretty good, at least I thought it was. I miss that, and I stopped letting myself do it. I became one of those people who, subconsciously as it may have been, thought that in order for something to be meaningful it also had to be morose and morbid and, even if it had a happy or optimistic ending, overlaid with a tone of despair.
I think it’s time to let loose the hounds of comedy once again.
And … I just want to see where this goes. It’s so different for me, even though it feels so familiar because I’ve seen things like this done so many times before. I think this project could really take me for a ride.
I think I need it. I need a new perspective. Or perhaps it’s just an old one I haven’t had for a long time.
Either way, I’m going to start writing, and just see what happens.