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I have to start writing nanowrimo tomorrow, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I've got a story sorted out in my head but I now want to do something else that I can do better. And I'm turning 26 in two days and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. This is not a freak out.  



When I turned twenty five I promised myself that I would have some things done by the time I turned twenty six, given that there are only a few days left it’s probably time to acknowledge that I failed. I did pass my driving test, but the pros of being able to drive elude me when I’m healthy, single, with no kids and living in London where there’s more public transport than I could ever need, and I have to pay four pounds an hour (or more) for parking, and seventy quid bi-annually to park outside my own house (not including road tax of about 200), sky-high insurance and petrol, and a complete inability to comprehend all the one-way systems. But hey, I passed first time, yay me.

But I still say with all the hope and naiveté of before; 26 is going to be the golden year, I will get things done, I will achieve, I will make things happen. Twenty six sounds way better than twenty five anyway.

I keep telling people I want to be a writer. I don’t even know whether it’s true anymore I’ve said it so many times. People see me writing and they say, I think you should be a writer, and I’ve given up saying I probably shouldn’t be. And also may’ve slightly fallen in love with the idea of being a writer, the idea of being able to do loads of different weird jobs, and going to different places, and doing different things all in the name of research. And then just sitting at home and writing, in a house with bookshelves. Because I long for things like bookshelves, I’m sad like that.

I do think that it may partly be an esteem issue at this point. (This point being at which I feel in a constant state of my-brain-bled-out-and-ran-off-with-a-spoon). Where I feel like writing is maybe the only thing I could do, which is a mentality I really don’t want to fall into, because I know it’s just plain wrong. Okay I may not have much in the way of marketable skillsets, but I’m enthusiastic and a quick study. So I don’t want it to be something I do because I feel it’s all I can do.

One of my friends suggested I stop writing fandom meta and start writing on real issues, like academies. Though she did seem to imply that was mainly because she wanted me to stop ranting about how the new academies are going to ruin the British education system, and just write about it instead. I pointed out that there were already a brilliant series of articles on the subject, and I didn’t have anything new to say, other than not to blame me when our future kids go to school where you get a’s for buying cokes, and then pointing out that the reason I couldn’t write non-fiction is that I tend to exaggerate to the point of lunacy J

One of my main issues with fictional writing is character development, I basically just fail at it. Which is why I enjoy writing fanfiction where the characters are all ready for you. I know it may seem like I don’t write much fanfic, but that’s mainly because I only post a small fraction of what I write. I’ve done the thing where I base new characters on people or characters I know, but it still somehow fails. I think in a way there’s a necessity for characters in fiction to appear more three dimensional than in real life, because in real life a person merely is who they are you rarely get to know what drives them, what has caused them to really be that person, the true deep crevices and nuances of their character, unless you become very close to them. The difference in fiction is that everyone is looked at through a microscopic focus, for a long period of time, and the parts that you would never see of a real life person, are the parts we so rely on to make them real and convincing.  

Anyway I’m participating in nanowrimo next month, so I guess I’ll see how that goes. It’s very, very scary though, not only the idea of having to write about 1700 words a day. But the person mentions that everyone has read many books and that prepares you, and I start counting how many books I’ve finished reading this year, fearing it may be in the single digits (it’s not, but close). And I’m trying to keep the number of characters down, but it’s already looking like it has to be at least six. Is anyone else doing nanowrimo? And because apparently that’s not enough writing I’m also taking part in a fic exchange, because I have no self-control.

Thoughts on writing anyone?



Comments:


upupa_epops
upupa_epops at 2012-10-31 17:40 (UTC) (Link)
Sorry about the birthday crisis :(. Had one myself this year, so I feel your pain.

One of my main issues with fictional writing is character development, I basically just fail at it. Which is why I enjoy writing fanfiction where the characters are all ready for you.

But then, what's wrong with that? Writing fanfic is valid creative activity. Writing fanfic doesn't make you less of a writer, it's just a genre you feel good at :). It's only a problem if you want to make a living as a writer, if you want to have your stories printed. Which, you're not sure if you want to do?

(This short and weirdly harsh comment translates into: "I REALLY want to talk about this, because I struggle with something similar, but I have no idea how to start a conversation.")

Happy birthday, and good luck with your nano!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 18:11 (UTC) (Link)
I completely agree that writing fanfic is a valid creative activity, good writing is good writing whatever genre it is. For some people it might even be harder to have to work with characters that are already there. But I'm still trying to work on the areas I'm less good at so I can grow as a writer.

Comment is not harsh at all, and talk away, I'd love to have a discussion.


Happy birthday, and good luck with your nano!
Thank you, and thank you :) It's nice to know I'm not the only one who freaks out ;).
upupa_epops
upupa_epops at 2012-10-31 19:14 (UTC) (Link)
I turned 25 this year, so I had a "OMG I should do something with my life!" moment ;).

My problem with writing original fiction is that it doesn't appeal to me at all? I'm just not interested (mostly because, at some point, someone tried to force me to do it ;) ). I think I grew happier when I stopped trying to "go original"? I can write whatever the hell I want, and I don't have to worry that certain themes would scare many potential readers (buyers) off. I don't have to be stressed out about the quality of my writing (I mean, I still am, but those are two very different levels of stress). I don't have deadlines that I'm not the master of. I don't have editors I haven't chosen. My writing will never earn me a penny. I will never see my book on a shelf. I'm cool with that. Basically, I stopped worrying about not being a good enough writer and started viewing my own enjoyment as something more important than "objective" quality.

Idk, this is how I try to explain those things to myself. So far it works?

*rambling*
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 19:34 (UTC) (Link)
I can relate to what you're saying so much. Like, writing is my haven from real life, and I want to be able to enjoy it for my own enjoyment, and keep doing that. And I would only be okay with being a writer if I could also write stuff just for me. And I rarely show people in real life my stuff.

And your line about enjoyment being more important than 'objective' quality is so brilliant and so true, and it's great that that works for you. But I think I might as well give it a try and see what happens.

Also what you said about original writing, I find it harder to pay attention to original writing because I'm not already invested in the characters, so it's like, who cares if this bad thing happens to them, they're not real. I'm just going to see what happens with nano, because hopefully with bigger output I'll become invested in the characters.
upupa_epops
upupa_epops at 2012-10-31 20:03 (UTC) (Link)
Frankly, I can't imagine my RL people reading my fanfic now ;). A few heart attacks would happen, for sure. I think many of them don't even think that me and vampire porn could be in the same room together ;). I'm trying to imagine my grandmother reading my potential book, and failing.

And your line about enjoyment being more important than 'objective' quality is so brilliant and so true, and it's great that that works for you.

The way I see it, you can either try to be Hemingway, or get over it and just have fun. And I'm not good enough to be Hemingway.

You're right about characters in original fiction. I'd probably make them all the same person. Only, you know, with different hair every time.

Do you go for the same genres in fanfic and in original writing? Because now that I think about it: if I ever write a novel, it will probably be a comedy!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 20:25 (UTC) (Link)
LOL. I think people would be astounded by how twisted some of my stuff is with abuse and such. I also kind of want to show some of my homophobic relatives my slash fic just to see their reaction.

I tend to write horror and fantasy, because I'm good at writing violence and because I like creating different worlds, so I suppose that's quite similar to my tvd writing. But I've done drama and comedy also in fanfic, so I suppose I'm comfortable in more areas in fanfic.
Tenshinrtaiga
tenshinrtaiga at 2012-10-31 18:13 (UTC) (Link)
I've been considering Nano-ing it again this year. I tried last year, but I was simultaneously doing a semester of nursing school (which I hated and only did because I, too, had a birthday what-the-hell-am-i-doing-with-my-life freak out) and epically failed.

However I have a rather hefty big bang due in November too and don't know if I can juggle 30,000 words for it on top of a 50,000 word novel. I, too, struggle to write original fiction and would like to work on that some more since 98% of my fics are already made characters and I have like all of 2 original characters. And don't get me started on my (lack) of (concrete) ideas for an original novel.

And yet somehow, I am still considering doing this...??? #befuddled
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 18:27 (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like the 30 000 is a big project as it is. Good luck with nano if you decide to do it :).

Oh, I get the concrete idea thing so much, I have about a million wispy little kittens of ideas that turn to smoke at the first sign of growth. There's an OC in the big bang I just wrote, and I was writing her and just looked at it and went, she's kind of a Mary Sue, I'll make her an evil Mary Sue and give her an iota of character that way.

What genre would you do for nano if you did it?
Tenshinrtaiga
tenshinrtaiga at 2012-10-31 18:49 (UTC) (Link)
I can only ever write YA. What about you? What genre are you going for?


And I figure I'll sign up. The worst that can happen is I don't make it. Nano buddies? This is my page (I haven't a clue if you can see it...) http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/lorelaipeyton

Edited at 2012-10-31 06:49 pm (UTC)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 18:57 (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, that's cool. I'm going for horror, I was thinking of having a character develop stockholm syndrome, but the more research I do the more I think I'll handle it like an insensitive jackass, so I might just go with straight up horror and they're conveniently relatively psychologically okay after events.

You could always set yourself a lower target than the 50 000, if that makes it easier. Yeah, I'm under the name Rubini (I'm not sure whether I made the R upper or lower case), that's actually my real name that no one except for the government uses.
Tenshinrtaiga
tenshinrtaiga at 2012-10-31 19:22 (UTC) (Link)
Friended you back. Also, 50,000 is the minimum requirement so you can only go over it, not under it. If you go under it, then that means you failed Nanowrimo (though that sounds a bit harsh, doesn't it?). But if you "pass" or "win" or whatever then you get a pretty icon and bragging rights for pretty much the whole year (until the next Nanowrimo)... Okay, actually the icon's not very pretty. But the bragging rights are fun.

Edited at 2012-10-31 07:23 pm (UTC)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 19:41 (UTC) (Link)
Cool. And yeah, it wouldn't be 'winning' but there seem to be loads of 'pep' talks flying around saying it's okay to aim for under. I suppose it is extra special to win ;D.

P.S. I spent months last year bragging about writing 20 000 for tvd bigbang, and people were surprisingly ridiculously overly impressed.
Tenshinrtaiga
tenshinrtaiga at 2012-10-31 20:13 (UTC) (Link)
LOL
Ellen Smithee
ellensmithee at 2012-10-31 19:39 (UTC) (Link)
I don't really have any ambitions to be anything but a fandom writer (any more - plus, I write about 2500-3000 words a day in my job, so there's not much brain power left for original fic at the end of the day)- for me, it's just a way to participate in fandom and connect with other fans and get into the characters and the show's themes. I haven't tried to write anything original since college a long, long time ago. Have you tried roleplaying, i.e. a game on tumblr or LJ/IJ? Roleplaying is a really good way of getting yourself used to developing and writing characters (and also developing plots), whether you're using a canon character as a base or creating an original character.

I'm planning to at least attempt nano this year (which reminds me, I have to set up my account again tonight). If 1700 words is too much, there's also mini_wrimo on LJ - you can set your own daily goal (minimum of 100 words) and if you keep that up by writing just a little every day, you still come out with a feeling of accomplishment.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 19:51 (UTC) (Link)
That's a lot of writing per day, I think I would be too tired too :).

Ooh, I haven't tried roleplaying, I think I'll give that a go, thanks for the advice :) I think for a long time I've been writing just to write and participate in fandom, I've never really spent a lot of time with original fiction, probably not since high school when I wrote fiction in English class rather than actual assignments (I lol at myself and this 'rebellion') so I'm curious to see what will happen.

That sounds like an awesome comm. I'm going to go join now :D.
Ellen Smithee
ellensmithee at 2012-10-31 20:01 (UTC) (Link)
I also added you on nano. ;-)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 20:12 (UTC) (Link)
I added you back ;).

Also YOU LIKE TERRY PRATCHETT AND STEPHEN KING

How did I not know this? Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors. And I spent most of my teenage years reading Stephen King novels, but I haven't actually read one of his books in ages.
Ellen Smithee
ellensmithee at 2012-10-31 20:41 (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read Stephen King in a while either, but I often don't read when I'm in the midst of a fannish obsession, unless it's a book fandom. ;-)

And do I love Terry Pratchett? One of my cats is named Greebo. :-D
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2012-10-31 20:51 (UTC) (Link)
:D
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