God I don’t make decisions well. Like my brain just seems to be a decision-resistant surface, where they glide off with absolutely no traction if I just tilt a little in any direction.
Basically, my pipe dream of turning my shitty YA werewolf novel in to a shitty YA werewolf 5-part series – and writing all 5 parts this year – is just looking kind of unlikely. Not because I can’t do it. Not even because I’ve decided not to do it. But another obvious possibility has come to mind.
Realm of the Myth.
The reason for this is because RoTM is the story I have taken the most too-seriously for the longest time. In contrast, the plan with writing 5 novels in one year requires a mindset of not taking the story itself very seriously, more just the writing aspect. How fast can I do it, how coherently story-ish can I make it while writing at top speed – it’s basically an improvised story. And I love that idea. I love that it’s allowed me to get a shitload of writing done in a very short space of time, both times I’ve gone full-on with it. The focus on storytelling in a broad sense rather than the specific story I am telling is so liberating. And after it was so successful, I predictably started thinking about how I could use this technique to get some of my other projects moving a little quicker – specifically, projects that I had more of an emotional investment in than my shitty YA werewolf novel.
This included Realm of the Myth, and the instant I thought of it I rejected the premise on principle, because it would have meant that I would not be taking the story seriously. It would be relegated to secondary importance in comparison to my writing experimentation; it would not be allowed to take centre stage and be as important and meaningful and important and significant and meaningful and important and … you get the idea. I couldn’t do that to my precious story. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that a few days ago my brain just decided to treat it as though it was dead and gone, without bothering to even go through the process of making the decision to give up on it.
Today, though, I was thinking about my plan to write 5 shitty YA werewolf novels this year, and as appealing as that idea is, I just don’t think I care about my shitty YA werewolves enough to sustain such a marathon effort, and definitely not enough to write it out over the course of a few years. If I’m going to do this kind of super-intense writing trial, I need a story that I care about.
And today, I think that Realm of the Myth might be that story.
Emphasis on might. I still haven’t even touched my shitty YA werewolf novel since I decided I was going to give it 4 siblings (and probably a 5th prequel sibling, I have thought way too much about this), so I have to allow for the possibility that, once I do get around to finishing the 1 that I have currently, I might enjoy it so much that it reignites my passion for writing the whole series. I also haven’t tried to make Realm of the Myth work in the sense of actually writing it for … a year? Two years? I think Nanowrimo 2014 was the last time I put any actual writing towards the project. And that petered out pretty quick. But the idea of just writing this for myself, not as a world-changing story, the next Harry Potter that it so clearly pays homage to, or anything for other people to care about – that’s kind of appealing. And what’s more appealing is just finally taking it as seriously as it deserves to be taken, which is about as seriously as my shitty YA werewolf novel.
Except it does deserve a little more than that, because it’s My Story. My werewolf writing-exercise doesn’t feel like it really belongs to me – the more I write it, the more it does feel that way, but compared to RoTM it’s going up against 15 years of commitment and familiarity. Also, I’m turning 30 next year, and I don’t want to go into 30 with this kind of unfinished business remaining unfinished. Framed more positively, I want to get Realm of the Myth off my chest before I turn 30.
So I think it’s time to take it seriously enough to write it, the way it was intended to be written. It will be so unreadable, so undeniably awful, and I will write the fuck out of it.
But I’m liking this idea the more I think about it. I may try writing some today; I may put it off – I do have a chapter turn-in on Wednesday that I need to work on. Thankfully this one has a lot of usable material waiting for me to take advantage of, so it’s not going to be the soul-shredding grind that the last chapter was. Regardless, I think this Camp Nanowrimo – which I’m going to jump into at least 11 days late – is going to be the beginning of the end of this era for me. At long last, the sendoff it deserves: to be written in the form I originally conceived of it in. Or as close to as I can manage without literally getting sick.
I want to get to the new good stuff, and I think the way I do that is to get the old stuff out of the way. Give it its due. We’ve been together for so long, I’ve had such lofty aspirations for this story, but it’s never held up to my own standards. And I think that’s actually a good thing. I’m still learning how to write, how to tell stories, feeling my way through it all. That’s the place that this story came from, the ambitions of a teenager who wanted to do things he didn’t know how to do. Which is a beautiful thing. And as much as I truly think Realm of the Myth is a pretty awful story, it’s an awful story that I deserve, because through writing it I think it will teach me how to tell the stories that I really want to tell. And that’s worth a lot to me.
Also it allows me to turn 30 into a milestone and give it a narrative so that I can wrap my puny human brain around it, infusing it with value and perpetuating the age-fetishism of our neoliberal consumer society.
To telling old stories.