To continue in my new strategy of cheating I mean counting my word-count a bit more purposefully, I have counted these words that I wrote approximately half of – because, today, my friend and I finished the final scene in our co-writing project of 10 months!
We wrote it together, which was an interesting (and fun) experience, as up to this point we have written this entire show either episode about or scene about, so this was new territory for us.
We also watched a bunch of intros to old ’90s TV shows, and our show definitely needs one. Particularly one like Animorphs or Big Wolf on Campus. Which is to say like any of the predecessor shows to the likes of The Vampire Diaries, Shadowhunters, and of course Teen Wolf. We are continuing a proud tradition here. We will do it right.
Why is freewriting so hard?
Oh well, at least it’s getting done.
Seriously, why is it so hard?
I did get stuff done today though, and important stuff. Mostly paperwork. But I also finished The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee, after putting it off for, what, 3 weeks after going out of my way to get it from the library? Not because I didn’t enjoy it; I actually put off reading the other two library books I got out, before this one, just to read it. I enjoyed it. To be honest, I enjoyed the first 50 or so pages quite a bit more than the next 450, but that isn’t to say that those 450 pages were bad. I still enjoyed myself – I guess I just thought that the story was going to be about something other than it was, and skimming Goodreads reviews tells me that I’m not alone in this. As for what it was actually about – basically, it’s a very modern, overtly liberal Bildungsroman, replete with diversity and empowerment and calling out problematic behaviour …
Which is my bag, baby, even if it was a bit less, I dunno, meaty than I would have liked – the diversity and ethic of acceptance that drives this book was great to see, but it was a little … uncomplicated. The main character, Monty, is a privileged white boy (also bisexual, and that is explored regarding how it intersects with his privilege in other areas), and serves as, if not quite an audience stand-in, a privilege stand-in. Of the three central characters (Monty, his BFF/longtime crush Percy, and his younger channeling-Hermione sister Felicity), Percy is the most privileged and the most self-centred, and the various facets of diversity are represented through the lens of his percpective on them. In that sense, there is definitely some exploration of the problems people can face when, for instance, they suffer from a disability and/or social stigma and their privileged friends don’t understand, in the slightest, what it is like to actually have to live with these imposed social burdens, and that is good. But perhaps because it’s a YA novel, perhaps because the author just didn’t want to “go there”, or perhaps because whatever other reason, that’s about as bad as it ever gets. Percy and Felicity are much more likeable than Monty, but they’re also much more boringly perfect, the kind of Strong Character that gets criticised more and more frequently these days for not having much in the way of depth or complexity – although having said that, this book is all from Monty’s POV, and since Felicity is getting her own novel I am definitely keen to be proven wrong about my reading of her as a character who endures hardship as a substitute for having character flaws/depth. If Percy also gets his own book, I will be similarly eager to get my hands on it. Whether or not a character gets to take the perspective spotlight in a story can go a long way towards establishing their character, so while I’m not overly enthused about Felicity and Percy in this book (though I still liked them!), I would definitely be interested to see if that would change if I got to see things from their point of view.
And despite my quibbles, Gentleman’s Guide has well and truly validated my choice to swear off urban fantasy for a while and bring YA back into my life. While I wish that perhaps there had been more depth and complexity in this book, it was more depth and complexity than I’ve had the pleasure of reading for a good little while, at least more of the kind that I’m particularly interested in.
Weekly Total: 4702
This has not been a writing week. Just putting that out there.
It has, however, been an important week where I got some important stuff done, and having written this much at the same time is quite gratifying. I have more thoughts about Gentleman’s Guide than I initially thought so there may be a proper book review at some stage. Morning pages are just … maybe if I wake up in the actual morning they’ll be easier? I like the idea, I always feel better for having done them, but I think I need a more structured approach to them right now. I do think pen and paper is the way to go; typing means that you can type more or less at the speed of your thoughts, whereas pen and paper means your thoughts skip ahead to the next thing while you’re still writing the last one, and having to just pick up wherever your thoughts currently are is part of the reason that freewriting works. I actually think I need to differentiate between morning pages and freewriting, and that doing both is a good idea. Morning pages to get in touch with my thoughts, and freewriting to break out of over-thinking.
Tools. It’s about tools, and having the right ones for the job.
It’s also about me not stressing about how much I write so that I can focus on reading and the reading just isn’t happening. So that’s next week’s primary focus. The year is almost out, and I had a plan at the start of this year to have not only re-read and made revision notes on Mark and Jessie, but to actually revise it and have it read to submit to publishers. Short of finding a time-machine, I don’t think that’s a realistic goal anymore – but I may be able to do one revision pass on it this year. It just depends on me picking up the pace, and having a revision plan ready to roll.
One step at a time. I haven’t read it all yet; I certainly don’t have good revision notes. I don’t even know if I’ll have workable revision notes this year, if I’ll have to read this pile of hot garbage again before I can parse it clearly enough to do so, or what. I just have to finish this read-through and see where things stand. Which means finishing this read-through.
Am I Getting There? It doesn’t feel like it right now. I guess I’ll just keep going until it does.