Holy Christ I Hate This Book

I don’t know now, looking back, how I let myself live after having the gall to write this goddamn book. I don’t know why, in particular, these ideas convinced me that they were good enough to commit to written language, let alone show other people – for those who have been here since the beginning or checked the archives, I did in fact show off my chapters to a select few readers/friends as they were written. Never mind that I got almost universally positive feedback; it’s a bad idea, because you start writing for your readers instead of for yourself, and while that seems like a good thing in a way, it’s really not. You are the one making the offer; your readers are the ones who decide if they can or cannot refuse.

I can’t quite wrap my brain around what in the pulsating green fuck motivated me to make this particular offer. I mean … nothing’s fucking happening. At all. Oh sure, plenty of “character stuff”, lots of delicious, mouth-watering “relationship drama”, and once upon a time I got the biggest fucking hard-on for this shit, and I just do not understand it anymore. It’s that simple. I don’t get my own fucking book, my fucking passion project. I can’t understand why I ever wanted to write any of the words that I am currently reading.

I have no “in” to something I’ve already fucking written.

But, as per usual with anything having to do with reading your own writing, this is a valuable learning exercise. Yesterday it was just my taste in prose; now it’s my taste in details to linger over and emphasise by giving them privileged space on the page. It’s just so fucking juvenile; I don’t know how else to describe this writing other than some thesaurus-derived variant of immature. I can’t fucking believe that I wrote this; I can’t stand it.

And what I’m learning from this is that the focus of this story needs to change, and it needs to change very fucking hard.

I can remember what was motivating me at the time: I wanted this story, so unlike any other I had ever envisioned writing, let alone actually bothering to write, to be more character-focused and specifically to move away from my general focus on action. I had become sick of my continued infatuation with Dragon Ball Z for a little while by the time Tallulah came to mind, and was bothered by how much that one piece of media dominated my creative palette. Tallulah was more than just a breath of fresh air; it was almost like a new identity, because in writing it I became somebody I never thought I would or could ever be. Just to be the kind of person who would commit to writing a story like Tallulah changed everything I thought about myself, and as I stuck with it over the course of the next 3 years, I continued to change. And for the better, I will say.

But what I see now is that those changes for the better were not remotely matched by better writing, because fuck my knees with a King James Bible this is bad. Yesterday I thought it was just words that were the problem; today I see that it’s both words and the content of those words, the scenes they create, the events that they encapsulate and draw attention to. The story, in short, is what is bad, because it focuses on this inane fucking bullshit where nothing fucking happens. It’s 88k words worth of filler masquerading as a story.

How. How could I permit this. Somebody tell me.

I’ll tell me: I was distracted, obviously, by the sensation of doing something different, breaking out of my comfort zone and creating something that I never would have imagined I would even think to create. Which was a great idea, and I’m glad that I did it, but Jesus Christ could I have learnt to fucking write first? Or had any sort of grasp of the meaning of staying on-point? Or just understood what in the algae-coated fuck my story was even about? This tells me that my big revelation about what I needed to change about the end of this book isn’t just right; it’s not right enough. I need to change … like … everything. I need to write a new fucking book is what I fucking need.

I can’t believe I’m saying this and meaning it, but I hate Tallulah. I hate it so fucking hard.

I can’t believe it.

I wonder how much of this is tied to the fact that I did in fact spend almost 2 years writing one of the more pulptastic things I’ve ever been possessed to write. Dear god, I actually wrote that shitty YA werewolf novel. Like, that’s a thing that I did. It’s finally starting to sink in; took long enough … but it’s action-focused, it’s pulpy and fast-paced; the character stuff does matter but it’s also inconsistent and distracting because, as I’m discovering pretty hard right now, I have a really hard time staying on-point or clearly understanding and sticking to my vision for what a story is when I have that vision. Probably has something to do with the fact that it took 2 goddamn years to write; Tallulah, festering mound of refuse that it apparently is, only took around 7 months once I started writing it “properly”, which is to say according to a daily routine that I checked off on my wall-planner. And for all the filler, at least the focus was fairly clear.

Here’s the thing, though: Tallulah feels salvageable. It would be a lot of work, but it would eventually work if I committed to it. My shitty YA werewolf novel, on the other hand – it could, but I wouldn’t see the benefit to doing so, and I do with Tallulah. This wrong-headed focus on trivial bullshit that doesn’t matter, introducing things at weird, irrelevant times and putting the emphasis on seemingly significant things that either don’t go anywhere or are only significant if you can read my mind and know all the invisible backstory that I have for these characters and their motives – if I got rid of that and re-focused on stuff that actually mattered (or, rather, actually included things that mattered to be focused on in the first place), then certain aspects of the style I’m finding here could work. It’s just … misdirected, I guess. The hard part is going to be the rewriting. I’m foreseeing that I’m going to have to do a lot of it. I’m not looking forward to it.

Actually, I’m really not looking forward to it. When I decided that I was going to commit to getting Tallulah ready for submission to agents by the end of the year, I had not yet begun to re-read it. I feel like if I had done that first, I wouldn’t have made that commitment, because I don’t think that I have the energy or discipline to meet that goal. I can’t help but feel like I could put my efforts into something else more rewarding instead of trying to salvage this unreadable train wreck of a manuscript.

I’m starting to wonder if Tallulah was doomed to just be another writing exercise, in retrospect. Because in retrospect, it actually has some pretty important things in common with my shitty YA werewolf novel, which was always intended to be a writing exercise. Mainly, they both came about from me getting excited about trying out something that I never had before, something that seemed very out-of-the-ordinary for me to even do to begin with. The specifics – tone, theme, pace, etc. – are completely different. But that’s just semantics. The driving force behind both of them was that they were experiments. Things that I didn’t know if I could do, and that’s why I wanted to do them. And I did.

And perhaps that’s where I should leave both of them. Perhaps this is me realising that, actually, I’ve been done with Tallulah from the moment I decided to take my hiatus. I can’t help but wonder if that would be for the best.

But I also can’t help but wonder what it would be like to continue as planned. I mean, I’ve been through rough patches with this book before. Lots of them. None of them were quite as off-putting as this one, but then I’ve had a whole 4 years of changing tastes to go through between then and now. I probably should have anticipated that I wouldn’t like what I found when I eventually came back to this fetid swamp of un-killed Darlings. That’s what the problem is, I think. Last time I read it, I remember thinking that there was still way too much filler – this is just compounding on that observation; it’s nothing but filler so far.

Maybe it gets better in later chapters. Maybe I just have to include something in my notes about, I dunno, how I feel about the chapter, or what I wish was happening instead, or some other way of recording the changes I feel need to be made or pointing out the problems that I have with the chapters. I’m not sure if those belong with my notes or not. I really don’t know what to do when it comes to revision, even though I’ve done it once already.

Promises, maybe. It does seem like a good thing to focus on, having finally gotten around to listening to the Writing Excuses podcast: identifying what promises I’m making to the reader, and then identifying where I keep and break those promises. I remember telling a friend, sometime during the hiatus, that the thing I was most concerned with about Tallulah was that I wasn’t keeping my promises. Now I think I just need to identify what those promises are, and whether or not I keep them – or want to keep them. Seems like a decent way to go.

God I hate this book – but I’m not giving up on it yet. Not until I know for sure why I hate it, and what I could do to change that, if anything. I want to be able to make an informed decision about this book, one way or another. I feel like I owe it that much, at least.

And also, seeing as I do kinda still like the idea of writing for a living, I suppose I had better get used to the idea that I might not always be totally head-over-heels in love with everything I ever write, and that I might have to put in a bit of effort – or more than a bit – to make it work in the long-run.

Commitment. Tallulah taught me a lot about that. Time to see if I learnt anything.

Hmm. Hmmmmmm.

It’s been 13 months and my shitty YA werewolf novel still isn’t finished. But it does stand at 69k words, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.

More to the point for my sense of accomplishment, though, is the fact that it really hasn’t registered at all just how much work I got done with this thing. This completely impulsive, relatively shallow writing experiment that, while I’ve been “working on it” for 13 months, that’s really been 2 periods of intensive writing with huge, months-long gaps between them. Basically, I wrote 69k words in 3 months. And considering that I’ve been doing my Masters for all of that time …

I mean seriously, that’s a pretty fucking big achievement.

I am going to try and acknowledge it.

And also, given some rather exciting – and slightly terrifying – news that I got today (yesterday whatever fuck you am/pm threshold), I’m going to really try and believe in my capacity to multitask. To believe that I can do my MA, and write a novel, and do this other thing that I’m going to be doing that I will say more about when things are more finalised and official and shit … all at once.

The shitty YA werewolf thing – the reason I keep calling it that is because it is shit. It’s bad. It’s un-good. But the process of writing it has been awesome, even after the novelty wore off. It’s the process that I fell in love with, and as much as I’m on the edge of being very anxious about this new life-event stuff, it’s also an opportunity to dive head-first into another process, just this time a much more complicated and consequential one, because it doesn’t only affect me. This is an opportunity for me to push myself, to see how far I can take my dedication to process for the sake of process, and to really start to enjoy it. I think I will. I am just worried that I’ll hold myself back and lose momentum and … well, all the usual crap one thinks when one has anxiety.

But I’m still excited. I’m so excited that I’m considering going back to Tallulah, just because I want to get it written, I want it to work, I might be able to make it work idea-wise now – so all that’s left is the process. And if I’m going ham on process for the rest of the year – discipline, I guess, is the word I’m really looking for – then I would love it if Tallulah could benefit from it.

A lot could go wrong here, but that’s also kind of why I’m excited, because this is a chance to get it right instead. Put one on the map for my self-initiated anti-anxiety treatment. And to be honest, I have wanted for so, so long to just go really full-on with something challenging. Too long, maybe. But I guess so long as you get there eventually …

In the meantime, I’m going to try and start off with my current writing project and see if I want to stick with it – if not, welcome back Tallulah. And hell, maybe welcome back Tallulah regardless. Because I think I’ve got it as well worked-out as it will ever be without it turning into another ROTM, and much as I want to get it right, I also want to get it done. The process is what I’m going to take with me – at some point, I’m going to have to leave every single one of my stories behind. I’m going to have to be done with them. And I think I’m finally getting okay with the idea that Tallulah might not be as good as I fantasise about it being. It could just be done. And that would be brilliant in and of itself.

So yeah. Excited. Doubtful, hesitant, but that’s to be expected at this point. Comes with the territory. And it doesn’t stop me from feeling excited …

Almost like being a teenager again, when I still cared about things, much as it pained me. Only in a good way this time, because I’m not actually a teenager. Silver linings.

4016

I swear, these word-count numbers are spooky. That’s this year plus 2,000.

Spooky.

Tonight’s semi-marathon writing session was not devoted to my Camp Nano project, as you can probably infer from the title of this post not carrying the “Camp Nanowrimo 2016” prefix. That is because I have pretty much given up on my Camp Nano project, and I’m switching back to the one I was intending to write originally: the weird semi-parody high fantasy erotica story. So far it is fairly indefensible from a moral standpoint, but also rather enjoyable to write because I can switch my brain off, more or less, and let my fingers do all the work. And that’s what I want. I want a story that I can just write, that I can finish and revel in the satisfaction of having finished it, and not spend months and months and months agonising over making it actually any good at the expense of speed. That’s what revision is for.

Having said that, I am not completely giving up on my Camp Nano project – I’m just giving up on Camp Nano. I have gotten more writing done this month than I have for the past few, so I’m certainly not complaining about that, but as far as progressing with a single project goes – not so much. I just want to flit around right now, give a few things a try and see if anything sticks. And to that end, I have an idea for how to spend the remainder of Camp Nano: forget the project and just have a word-count goal. Just see how much I can write in a month, no matter what it is I’m writing (so long as it’s a novel). And if anything comes from that, great, but if not then at least I’ve got some general momentum going, and a lot of writing done.

So, assuming that this is my plan for the rest of the month, I have managed to write … 15,848 words. I’m going to set a word count goal of 40k, seeing as I’m making some progress right now. See how this goes.

But more and more I’m coming around to the idea that I just really want to do something that isn’t writing, something that I can throw myself into. Which I can do with writing, but not right now. I had all these plans about being disciplined and writing my witch novel for the sake of developing that discipline … it’s just miserable to do. Really miserable. And I don’t know if that’s a mindset thing that I should try to push through or if I need to listen to it and take the break that I’m currently taking – but, seeing as I’m taking that break anyway, I guess I’ve made that decision already.

But I suppose this new plan is still about discipline. I mean I’ve got 7 days left to write 25k words, which is, what, 3.2k words per day or something? 3.5. That’s doable, but will definitely take some discipline. My task now, I guess, is to make sure that I’m writing that every day, rather than just blatting it all out in the last few days of the month and probably not meeting my goal.

Or I guess I could just not write for a while.

I guess this comes back to a piece of advice I used to give myself a lot on this blog: that there are only two rules of writing that you really need. The first one is to commit, completely and totally, to whatever it is that you’re working on. The second one is to be able to change your mind, whenever you want, for whatever reason. And it can’t just be one or the other; it has to be both. Otherwise it doesn’t work.

So, I tried committing. I got somewhere with it. Now I’m changing my mind, because in all honesty it’s just not worth it to me right now. I feel, as I write that, that if I just pushed a little harder I could end up finding out that it is worth it to me. And I might do that.

And I might not.

Either way, it felt good to write something else today that just clicked, in a way that my witch book just isn’t doing. And generally for me, if it doesn’t click then it’s because there’s something very important missing. Maybe if I find out what that is I can make the witch book work. But for now, I think I’m more interested in finding something that gives me a little bit more to work with, even if that’s giving writing in general a break. I can always come back to it later. That is the great thing about writing: no matter what happens, it’s all exactly where you left it.

As long as you remember to back everything up. Rule 3 of writing.

Nanowrimo 2015: You Can Do It

It’s been … a week.

What?

Seriously, I have no idea how this happened. A whole week since I last worked on my Nano project. I don’t know what to make of that. I mean it’s not surprising, given my track record for writing, but …

I mean is it just the weather? We’ve been having really shitty, soul-draining weather recently and, well, it’s kinda drained my soul in a really shitty way. As opposed to the non-shitty way. Apparently that’s a thing I’m implying.

So okay, I actually do know how this happened.

It’s because I feel like I’m failing.

It’s not just Nano: it’s my MA, it’s my social life, it’s my mental and emotional state, it’s the fact that I haven’t done my nightly workouts for the past three weeks because I’m pretty sure I’ve torn a ligament or something and I really don’t want to tear it any further – everything just kind of blows right now. In my head at least. I know it’s actually going okay in the external world; I did some work on my MA the other day and it was actually pretty clarifying, but that was after two weeks of doing NOTHING. If this month is my test to see if I can handle the pressures of my academic work at the same time as working on a novel, never mind all the other things one might conceivably do with a normal life, then it’s a test I’m not passing. I feel like my MA is broken beyond repair; I feel like I lack the discipline to write badly and that writing badly is not only an important discipline but should be a really fucking easy and achievable one as well which makes it even worse; I feel like the reason I’m so miserable yet apathetic is because I’m always in my head and have no outside perspectives to draw on or use to break my cycle of depressive inner monologuing …

It’s just a generally sucky time for me right now.

But I know what the answer is. There’s a void, a really dull, grey, beige, flat, flaccid, absolutely un-terrifying void that surrounds me when I’m Not Doing Anything, and I know that the only way to break out of it is to, like, Do Something. Anything, in fact. The only reason I don’t – I assume – is because I get stuck on the question of why I aren’t doing something when I know that’s the answer? Why do I wallow and procrastinate and feel guilty for not having the automatic response of “hey I’ll just fucking DO SOMETHING problem solved” when it is so goddamn easy to just do something?

The only answer I have is that it’s because I have a fucking mental illness, that I have experienced recurring depressive episodes for the past 16 years of my goddamn life, and it’s not actually easy for me to Just Do Something, even though it feels like it should be. I don’t know where that feeling comes from. There are so many instances I can point to of where I’ve trained myself to feel guilty for my inaction and lack of initiative – mostly having to do with what other people have told me – that there’s no one “where” from which this sense I have can have originated. It’s so many things, and they’re not all in my past. They all set me up to disbelieve in myself, over and over again, and it’s really obviously, transparently sick and maladaptive and wrong, and yet I just won’t believe it. I don’t know why I won’t believe it. No matter how many times I prove myself wrong, it just doesn’t stick. And that’s the reason, I think, that I don’t push myself to do things as often as would help: because I know I don’t believe it, and that means that it’s not worth doing.

It’s so …

I hate it.

I hate the thought that I’ll never get past it, and that I’ll never just have the drive to do things when I feel like shit that will break me out of my feeling-like-shit-ness. That it’ll always be an effort, that it’ll never come naturally to me.

But goddammit, it works. I know it works. I may not believe that it works, but I know that it has worked. Maybe that’s the specific thing my brain can’t seem to grasp, or just refuses to: trusting that since it’s worked every single fucking time I’ve done it, it will almost certainly work this time as well. I think I just sort of write off all the other times it’s worked and focus instead on how I’m feeling right now, when I’m not doing it, when I’m feeling like shit.

I think, for all that I complain to myself about over-thinking, that my feeling-shit-ness actually has nothing to do with thinking. It’s just feeling. I just feel like shit; it doesn’t matter what kind of logic or reasoning I can throw at it, because clearly I have plenty of that. Clearly I understand that the solution is not only simple, but one that I have performed with perfect effectiveness multiple times. It is a repeatable, predictable experiment. It’s fucking science that in order to feel better all I have to do is make myself do something. And none of that entices me to believe it’s true.

And because all of this clear evidence isn’t enough to force me to believe it’s true, that the solution rests with me and is really fucking easy to get to, I feel even more worthless for not being able to even make this miniscule effort to employ a (so far) 100% effective solution to my recurring, predictable problem. Instead, apparently, what I’d rather do is mope and complain and feel shitty about not doing things.

Which I can very, very easily do.

But I’m not doing them, I’m so useless, blah blah blah FUCKING DO SOMETHING.

Nope, nothing.

Guys, depression fucking sucks. If you haven’t picked up on that so far, just take it from me: it fucking sucks. Depression combined with being pretty damn spoilt as a kid? I’m surprised I have the discipline to get out of bed AT ALL, let alone what it took to train myself to wake up in the MORNING.

But I did do that. And if I can do that, then I know, objectively, that I can train myself to do other shit as well.

Like write my fucking novel before the month is up, finish my MA chapter revision by the time it’s due – and let it suck if it sucks – and still get some fresh air and vitamin D by physically leaving my room.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you believe you can do it or not.

It just matters that you do it.

I have 20k words left before I win Nano, which is a little over 2k words a day from now until the end of November. Can I do it?

Yep.

See? Simple. I can do it. Fuck it, I wrote almost 10k words in just over 5 hours a week ago. I could finish Nanowrimo twice if I wanted to.

In fact …

Even if I didn’t want to.

And that’s the key. That’s the secret to discipline, and to believe that you can do something you don’t feel like you can do.

It’s realising that you can actually do things you don’t feel you’re capable of. You can do things in spite of your feelings about them. If what you’re worried about is whether you can get something done – you can. Whether you’re going to feel like it or not is a different question, and no less important. But it’s a different question.

Can I do it?

Yes.

So let’s do it.

And not just for one fucking month.

Nanowrimo 2015: 1052

I have 1052 new words for my shitty YA werewolf thing. A few things I’m sensing about this story thus far, without looking back over what I’ve written for the sake of my already questionable sanity:

  • It’s probably just as problematic as I’d anticipated, though perhaps in slightly different ways
  • It’s good to “skip ahead” and write scenes I really want to write instead of forcing myself to write from start to finish
  • I actually think I can get this thing finished in 30 days

Well 24 days now but as I stated before I already have about 21k words written from earlier in the year, so I’ve got a bit of leeway. Though not too much, as I’m still shooting for around 60-80k words by the end.

It’s not quite fun yet, but as I was thinking as I waited for the bus from uni today after doing exactly zero revision for my masters: until I get to actually writing this thing, there is no point in actually thinking about it at all. There’s gotta be something there before I can think about it, after all. And once I believe in the laws of physics, that is a motto that will serve me well.

Though speaking of the laws of physics, writing “out of sequence” is fucking fantastic as a way to not only get yourself used to discriminating between the story in your head and the story as it exists in the external world, but also to write what you actually want to write, and ONLY that. I am very much somebody who writes “in sequence” because that’s how I read. You read a book from start to finish, so without thinking about it that’s how I’ve always written as well. After all, I’ll have to deal with peksy matters of continuity and linking events together at some point, so why not from the start?

The easy answer is because that’s how filler is born, if the ideas that you have for your story are actually disconnected scenes. If that’s what you’ve got to work with but you force yourself to write “in order” because that’s how a story “should” be told, you are making more work for yourself, because your story does not exist yet. There is no “sequence” to which you can adhere, because until you write it down, it’s all in your head. And it’s not that your story doesn’t exist unless it’s in print; it’s that you don’t have to make yourself write “in sequence” when you don’t actually have a sequence. That’s okay. In fact that’s great. The scenes that you do have are the ones you want to write – so write them. Only them. Stop writing when the scene ends, and go on to the next one. You will, I guarantee, have ideas about how to link them up while you’re writing them, after you’ve written them, all without having to make yourself sit down and devote time and energy specifically to the task of trying to nut out how these scenes will link up in the finished, published product. It will take care of itself. You will take care of it without even trying, and get to focus your time and energy on the stuff that you actually have interest in writing. Win-win.

Now, of course, if you have a story completely planned out from start to finish and that’s what you want to write – write it! My point here is that no matter how you do it, if you write what you want to write, if you make it a point to force yourself to only write what you know you want to write and leave off the other “necessary” ingredients until later, you will not only write more – and as writers we’re always trying to find ways to manipulate ourselves into writing more, so that’s already a win – but you will write better, because you will have disciplined yourself to prioritise what you want over what you predict or assume is important. It’s not that it’s not important for a story. It’s just that it’s not important for every stage of the storytelling process, and if you, like me, have trouble getting started, the best way I’ve found of doing it is to tell structure to go fuck itself and just do whatever the fuck I want.

And it turns out to be pretty hard. This scene I’ve been writing today is a big one, one that basically the entire story hinges upon, and I love writing scenes like that because it puts the pressure on. But it’s also really confronting. I’m stopping for the day because it’s just really intense: I’m not just writing, but dealing with all the things I’m thinking about while I’m writing – how the rest of this scene is going to go before I’ve even written it, how it’ll fit into the story when I eventually write the rest of it, character consistency before I’ve even established characters – basically doing all of the things I just said not to do. And that’s part of the process. I need some time off to just recollect myself and focus on what it is about this scene that makes me want to write it, instead of trying to get it to “work” within the overall story – the one that I haven’t written yet. Which is where the great contradiction of writing comes in (at least if you’re taking my very contradictory advice), in that while the story in your head is not the same as the one in print, the one in your head is the one you should be focusing on getting down in print – regardless of the shape of that story. If it’s got inconsistent characterisation, involves a plot-hole or two, makes you uncertain about the continuity – don’t worry about that. Don’t worry about how it affects the overall story. Focus on what its own merits are and then indulge yourself: write it exactly as it is in your head. Don’t take what you want and then try to change it so that it’s “good” or so that it avoids being “problematic”; write exactly what you want. It’s hard. I’ve found tonight just how hard. And it’s one of those things that we assume should be stupidly easy, because so often we’re told that we can’t just do whatever we want, that we shouldn’t do just whatever we want. And let’s be real, a lot of the time that’s very true. But not when we’re talking about writing a first draft.

What I’m finding tonight is that it is very hard and very valuable to learn how to turn indulgence into a discipline. It’s not just getting words down in writing; it’s getting down words that I want to tell. And it’s my story, so what other words should there be anyway?

Here’s to more shameless hedonism tomorrow.

I wrote some stuff. Was it Tallulah?

Do you read this blog?

It wasn’t Tallulah.

It was another thing, a thing I’ve wanted to get going for a while, not quite with the giddy thrill of my shitty YA werewolf thing or the City of Bones ripoff shitty YA thing before it, but more of a considered, “hey, I should do this thing because it interests me” kinda deal. It’s a meandering beginning, which I specialise in, and I hope it picks up because this could be really, really good. Also, as always, doing things gives you the motivation you need to keep doing them, or me anyway, and I’m starting to feel like I can just make things happen and stuff and it’s nice. It’s good. This is a good feeling.

I really, really need to do this more. I don’t know if this is a positive trend overall, if I’m getting better over time at making myself do things because I know that once I get started it all goes downhill (in the good, momentum-building way) from there, or if nothing’s changing at all. The only thing I know is what’s happening right now, and maybe that’s the best I can hope for. But I do feel that by now I should be able to look ahead a tiny bit with a fair amount of certainty, especially when it comes to my writing. I mean I’ve done a lot of it; I should know my own patterns by now, right?

Anyway TL;DR: wrote some stuff, gonna write more stuff tomorrow, things are happening, yay.

A Meddlesome Mood

I’m in a meddlesome mood and I need to keep myself under control.

Meddling is one of the deadly sins of writers stuck in a rut, and right now that writer is me. Tallulah is calling for my attention, but I’m not convinced that giving it is the best decision. When I decided late last year that it was time for A Break, I wanted to go back to the original idea that inspired me, to explore the possibilities and get away from the story that I’d written, a product of my doing all the things I swore I would not do. I haven’t really done that. I’ve got another New Idea for how I could tell this story, and it’s not the original idea, and the thing is that I do regret not following through with that original idea, not seeing what would have come of it. But having said that, I do like the new idea, and so now I’m conflicted and indecisive because whichever one I go with is going to take time and energy to explore, and it’s time and energy I feel, on principle, should be used for something with a much clearer trajectory for goal-accomplishment. Kind of like how I’m thinking of starting a Bachelor of Science next semester instead of going through to Masters with Media, because I have no fucking clue how I’d make my media qualifications financially viable, and that is a thing that I need to consider. I’m thinking Computer Science is going to be a fairly safe option if I want a job at some point in my life. I could be wrong, but that applies to everything, really. I may as well be wrong about something I’m interested in.

Back to writing – I can feel myself itching to just do something, for its own sake, and I know that this can lead to decisions one soon after regrets having made. So either I need to take a longer break from Tallulah, or this is the point where I start doing pros and cons and, as I’ve said, I fear that it’ll just be an exercise in messing things up for me later down the line, or just an utterly unproductive undertaking.

As such I think I’ll do some work on my semi-parody, semi-straight YA Urban Fantasy thing. I will do this because I got up to a point with it where the only way to go forward was through an encounter with one of the Great Tropes. I don’t know if it has a name, but it’s the trope where the Hero is brought into the Special World and, for lack of a better analogy, is Sorted. I don’t have a Sorting Hat stand-in, because it would be too easy, but I do have a Hero who is brought into the SpecialWorld and now the denizens of that World have to make provisions for them – or not. I have to think about this logistically, the pros and cons and consequences of allowing the Hero into the Special World, and somehow get it all Right and Not Leave Anything Out of my considerations, nor my writing. This is where I have to be Better Than Other Writers who are all Lazy Talentless Hacks.

I suppose you could say I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect.

That is, until I decide that I’m actually going to be a Lazy Talentless Hack myself and just make the characters do whatever I find the most entertaining to write, and whatever I find the most convenient to my intentions with the plot. That probably means that they’re all going to act like morons because I haven’t thought it through, and I have huge anxiety about being Outed as some kind of unoriginal fraud, and that’s exactly why I have to write this scene exactly like that. Do the thing that frightens you the most and all that.

I may possibly have some privilege in being afraid of really trivial bullshit that has little to no bearing on real life. Possibly.

But, we must all work with what we have, and I have some seriously faulty in-world logic to write. And hopefully it will keep me from meddling with things that I do actually care about not messing up, such as Tallulah, which I’ve been working on for three years now and am still only just beginning.

That’s probably something I need to look into as well. If I can’t mess it up, then can I ever actually get it right?

This is getting way too deep. Silly YA nonsense it is.