on writing

May. 18th, 2013 09:34 pm
lady_mab: (stormy thoughts)
[personal profile] lady_mab
it's been forever since I've posted here but I just have something I feel like getting off my chest because it's really been bothering me for awhile and I don't think I'll be able to move on with writing until I do.

This is something that has always boiled beneath the surface for a long time but only just has decided to put itself into 'words' and in the forefront of my thoughts. Especially now that Sarah is finishing up her final draft and preparing Kali for self-publication.

She has always written to sell. That has been, as I saw it, her one major flaw. For the longest time, she tracked trends and what was going to be popular and wrote for that. She churned out manuscripts like no one's business. She sent in queries and got rejected by publishers on several occasions. This was all during the time when we didn't talk, so during college. I didn't write at that time, at least, non a lot. I RPed and I dabbled in story ideas and random scenes. But I never actually finished a novel since Mwyr back in HS.

I finish college, I start writing again. I finish NaNo for the first time after three previous years of failing. I hit 50k and didn't even reach the end of the story. August rolls around and I take a stab at Camp NaNo, using it as a chance to rewrite my original story from '07 -- again hitting 50k and not finishing the story. That was big for me. I had never written so much (at once or in general) and I was finally able to get these big stories down into words.

'12 hits and I finish Wayfarer, my first novel since Mwyr, 8 whole years. I wrote it because I had this story in my mind and wanted to get it out. Dystopian YA, book one in a series that I had no idea where it was going. Didn't quite think the world through enough, I just wanted to write the story.

Later that year, I start to rewrite Mwyr -- third time's the charm, right? I redesign aspects of the story, eliminate what prevented me from getting far on previous tries, and February of this year, I finish it. 130k, revisiting my precious first novel from nearly ten years prior. Again, I didn't flesh out the world too much: I just really wanted to write this story down, now that I had found a way to make it work.

I get my chapter-by-chapter back from Sarah and yes, it has all these valid points that I need to keep in mind but the biggest question she had was: Who is this even aimed for?

I see this as she has always written to an audience. She has always aimed for YA and studied it and learned it inside and out -- what elements make a YA, the character arcs, what is popular. I wrote this story without really thinking it through. It meant something to me, and that's all I (frankly) cared about. (Insofar she's the only one I know who has finished it).

I'm working on SD now, something I've worked on for three years. I'm trying to keep certain things in mind as I write (description, keeping to the plot in every scene, etc), except that I have once again found myself running into the question: Who is this even aimed for?

Simple, it's written for Cara. I'm writing it because this is something Cara and I created and cultivated and has been near and dear to me because it involves my favorite cast of characters. I started to flesh it out and figure out character arcs and figure out how to get from point A to point B and it's taking shape but I just can't help but think that this is not marketable. It's going to be a giant piece of fiction. I'm only a month into the story and it's already at 60k. It's essentially the length of Mwyr as far as chapters go, though granted a lot of scenes are short because they are text convos or messages, etc.

The story is scattered between ten different narrators all in first person. Their ages range from 16 to 26. There are no arcs of "self discovery" which is popular in YA. It is an elaborate whodunit with literature references thrown in for my own amusement. They don't overthrow the government. They win, and the prize they get is being able to leave. There is no followup. There is no overarching message to get out of this.

It's huge, it's going to be hard to find out how to publish, and whatever.

And frankly, I don't care.

I want to set it up like a webcomic. Have a host that I post scenes to once a week and then throw in links or QR codes for extra content like character profiles, an ABOUT THE COMPANY page for this fictitious company, a medical record for one of the characters, songs, soundtracks, whatever. The story itself is very involved in technology and so I want to add that element to the story.

As an English major, I get so many people asking me "so are you going to be a teacher?" to which I reply "no, I'm going to live in a box and correct people's grammar as they walk by". I do not want to be a teacher. Maybe I will, in the future, when the market is better, when I can find a niche I want to fit into. But not now. Not when my best bet is doing elementary school for a year or two before being ousted because of budget cuts or whatever.

When I talk about the books I have finished (a grand total of two that need serious reworking and are part of a series that I don't even know how it's going to progress), people ask me "so when am I going to get to read your best seller" or "so I'm going to get an autographed copy right?" or "I'm going to be the first one to buy your book"

and don't get me wrong, this tickles me pink

but something I've come to realize recently, a little "self discovery" of my own, is that I really don't care anymore. I lack dedication. I have come to realize this about myself and it's a painful realization and it has lead to me floundering and faltering in all that I've been doing lately but it's the truth. I am not motivated, I am not dedicated, I just coast on through every day and somehow have managed to reach where I am. Years ago I came to the conclusion that I am not masterfully skilled at any one thing in particular. I am passably decent at a lot of things, but there is not one thing where I think "fuck yes I am amazing at this I can do this for the rest of my life and be successful (or in any case be happy and proud)".

I know a lot of people think "wow it's so amazing that you've written so much" or "wow it's really great that you're a writer", give me "being able to make a dress is so awesome!" or whatever. But it's just "yeah". I'm not an amazingly talented writer. I fly by the seat of my pants regardless how much plotting I do, and then once I'm finished, I just move on to something else.

I don't want to take the time to revise Wayfarer. I don't want to take the time to world build for Mwyr. I just want to finish SD so I can give it to Cara to read before I move on to re/writing something else. I tried world building for SD. I sat there for five hours trying to justify one location over another, how much distance between one end of the city and the other would be logical, and in the end all I did was panic about it and then realize my outline is empty and I couldn't write the next scene because I had nothing plotting -- I spent too long staring at maps of London.

In the end, I don't want to write to be published. I'm too lazy, I'm not motivated enough, I'm lacking the conviction needed to make something I've written into the best it can be. I want to just write and write and write and somewhere along the way maybe something will catch someone's attention.

This is why I'm still at Legoland. I have a schedule flexible enough that I can still do what I like to do (because I like to write, and that is why I write so much and don't want to focus on just one story and revising that story, because I get bored and I want to move on to creating something else, something new). I lack the conviction to move on to "reality". The reality of getting a real job, moving on to the next stage in my life, moving on to the next stage in my writing.

Long story short, I've come to realize I hate people asking me when they are going to get to read my novel. When is it going to be published and turn into the next best seller. Because I doubt I will ever reach that point and it doesn't bother me until other people bring it up. It doesn't bother me if I'm in my own little writer bubble, but then I get people going "when this?" or "when that?" and I lack the conviction to explain to them "probably never but thanks for the cute thought now shut up and stop giving me anxiety"

Date: 2013-05-19 12:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kit_kit
Anna ;A;

All of the hugs. All of them. I wish I could be there like when we were in college so we could talk. I mean yeah there's AIM but. Yeah.

I know it's not completely the same, but some of that made me go this is me.

If you want to, we should talk when you're online next time.

Date: 2013-05-19 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kit_kit
Aaah, okay. Gotcha. Then let us talk of other things, and do word sprints! 6:40, so that's about 9:40 here. I should be able to be up long enough for a couple of rounds of word sprints! I keep. Typoing that as word springs.

I miss you like burning too ;A;

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