I have considered this before, and I’m considering it again now: I could probably be perfectly content making a living as a complete and utter hack of a writer.
Now, when I say “hack” I am exposing a lot of my prejudices: a “hack” to me is somebody who does things like “bandwagoning”, “pandering”, relying on “formula” rather than being “original”, and in all other ways being stubbornly “generic”.
I sincerely believe that this change in tactics could very well bring me fulfillment.
Why is that? Well, I love structure. I love understanding systems, and then manipulating those systems based on the assumptions they foster – so long as those assumptions belong to a rather large audience that I can then sell shit to in order to make money. Which I’ve never, ever done. It’s a nice idea though.
It’s also the fact that today, from only allowing myself 2 hours to come up with a plan for my Nanowrimo project and then spending 20 minutes of that stuffing around on WOW (thank god my subscription runs out in 9 days), I came up with the most deliciously generic structure to a story all about the deconstruction and metacritique of tropes and narrative conventions. I mean … wow. All of that joy of borrowing that came flooding back when I saw The Mortal Instruments for the first time – this one-and-a-half hour planning process put it all into action; it hung around for a year and a bit just for this moment of pure unadulterated liberation of scenes and tropes from other stories I like and dumping them into mine, both because they work really well as key moments and because they’re the exact tropes and conventions that I want to critique through the story.
I haven’t been this excited to write a story since … well, the first time I started writing this story, about 13 years ago.
And actually that’s not true. Because I was never this excited to write this story. I gave up on it the first time I tried to write it, then came back a year later and basically wouldn’t let myself quit, out of stubbornness mostly, and the idea that I had to finish what I started, even if what I’d started had become so utterly unsalvageable that the best thing for both me and it would be to put it out of its misery. Which I eventually did – and now it’s come back and it’s fantastic. It’s going to be so goddamn fun, and it’s going to be – if I can pull it off properly – both a celebration and deconstruction of the tropes and conventions of mainstream media narratives, specifically those that have cropped up around the fantasy genre and the Hero’s Journey, and how they pertain to gender and sexuality, because ever since I took a sociology paper called Gender and Sexuality in 2010 I kind of haven’t been able to think of anything else. And I like that. It led me to feminism, which led me to other social movements and their various intersections – it’s been nothing but a positive for me, as far as I’m concerned.
So … yeah. Gonna finish writing out the plan and divide it into chapters tomorrow and then get stuck in. Looking forward to it. External motivators are always a good thing.
And I’m excited to be writing again, like truly excited. If I needed any more convincing that taking a break from Tallulah was a good thing, here it is.