Over the Hills and Through the Woods…

Official Announcement: Project “The Inescapable” is finished as of last Wednesday morning. I rested completely for about four days, and at the tail end of day five, I started gathering notes for my next shiny project!! (Updates to come!) See it in the side bar? Looking all shiny and jazz? ^_^

In case you didn’t notice, “The Inescapable” is missing from the side bar. It’s missing because I don’t want to look at it right now. I don’t hate it, and it’s not shelved – I just need some space. I may edit it later on this year. I may not. For now it’s been set aside, and I’m going to attempt to figure out what the disconnect is, because there is a disconnect, and I love to analyze my writing! Welcome to a stream of consciousness post. 😛

I’ve been trying to remember how I felt at the end of previous projects – if I was excited or not. Because I wasn’t excited this time. I do remember being excited when I finished “Discord” – I loved it! – and I think I was excited at the end of the last story I finished, too. It had such an amazing ending. So much more amazing than the story it’s attached to. I also know that when I finished my high fantasy in 2013, I celebrated and felt all enthusiastic about writing in general. That also had a really exciting ending and characters that were just awesome wrapped in chocolate.

The ending to “The Inescapable” doesn’t feel satisfying. I can pick it apart if I want, but deep down, I know the ending isn’t the problem. That can be easily fixed.

You know what this reminds me of? Awhile back I had this idea that went back and forth between present day and 16th century Portugal. Do I know anything about Portugal? Heck no. I was constantly doing what I call flash research (when you run to Google and look up something right quick). It completely wore me out. That wasn’t why I shelved it, but I am so not a research person. I can do it if I have to, and sometimes I even like it. It’s just that when I’m trying to write, the last thing I want is to be running around the internet trying to figure out when movie theaters became mainstream and when they started being in color and other such crap. (This applies to a completely different story, but the point remains the same.)

There was very little research in “Discord.” Most of my research consisted of looking at a map of Europe because I had no idea what was next to Slovakia. That’s the kind of research I like to do. Easy, quick, and non-pressing. (I also couldn’t wait to start editing this story! If I don’t want to edit something (editing being my favorite part of writing), then something is really, really wrong, you know.)

But no, the research was annoying, but ultimately the problem with the Portugal time hopping story is that the characterization for the main character wasn’t where it needed to be, and I couldn’t get it to where it needed to be without scrapping everything. I was trying so hard to do something that I’ve never seen before that I didn’t realize the characterization was a mess. Until I did realize it. Then I stopped. Haha.

“The Inescapable” feels like that. It feels like it’s trying too hard. I feel like I might have stressed too much over it, and now it represents a giant ball of stress. I worried so much about the tricky point of view and trying to get it right (which turned out great, I think) that I completely didn’t realize that I didn’t even like that part of the story. I just really wanted to see if I could do it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the worst thing ever. I read over some it not too long ago, and I loved what I read. It’s just the thing as a whole. There was a lot of brain numbing flash research, and on top of that, there was a lot of world building that sounded way more exciting in my head. However, when I translated it to screen, I just thought it was dumb, and I thought, “Why am I doing this? I don’t want to be doing this.”

So, I started thinking, “When did this get so stressful?!” When was the last time I wrote something and just did what I wanted and didn’t stress out the whole time and worry? And I think it was right before I somehow got it in my head that in order to grow as a writer I had to be constantly pushing myself to do something I’ve never done before – something different and new and unique and HARD. Which when I really think about it is a recipe for disaster. How can I ever get really good at anything if I’m constantly changing what I’m doing? Isn’t writing hard enough without me making it harder on myself by always forcing myself to do something different?

I had forgotten that there is strength in repetition. There is a reason I’m good at what I’m good at, and it’s because I’ve done it a billion times. I don’t have to change genres to be a stronger writer. I only have to keep writing. Even when I was stuck on vampires a few years back, I was still growing and writing some of the best vampire content of my life. Writing new stories – being in a new environment with new characters and adjusting to their idiosyncrasies and working out a new plot – that makes me a better writer. Not point of view tricks and time hopping. Not trying out science fiction when I don’t even read science fiction. Just simple, writing what I love, finishing that, and writing something else that I love.

Why do we sometimes feel like we have to make things so hard on ourselves?

I think part of the problem, too is that I started this last year when I was still holding on to that competitive part of myself that thought the only way to outdo myself was to do something super crazy. Like, how could I do better than “Discord?” (Which didn’t go anywhere, so clearly I needed to do better, right?) Oh, I know, I’ll drum up a crazy story with a really difficult plot trick in it. That’ll do it!

No, that was dumb. And now here I am, three months later with a story I feel “meh” about because it’s a pretentious stress ball of experimental crap.

I’m not mad about it. I love trying crazy things sometimes. If it works, fabulous, and if it doesn’t, I’ll learn something awesome. But I experiment way too much. It’s exhausting! Plus, I need to focus on strengthening my, well, strengths.

So, you know what special thing I’m doing with my next project? Not a damn thing. I’m doing nothing new or unique or different. I’m doing nothing hard. Nothing harder than the usually hard stuff anyway. The only thing I’m doing different is that my main character has a little brother. I’ve never had a little brother before in a story, which is hilarious because I actually have a little brother. (Only he’s a giant and everyone thinks I’m younger than him, but that’s fine.)

Nope. It’s just going to be me, plotting and outlining the same way I always plot and outline, and sitting down at my computer with an idea that I’m excited about.

In random news: my hamster is doing really well. 🙂
In other news: it’s dancing time. ^_^

dancing jay and silent bob

8 Responses to Over the Hills and Through the Woods…

  1. Lol glad your hamster’s doing well.

    Hey, i’m glad you finished this project. There’s a lot to be said to challenging yourself as a writer, but I don’t think we can do that randomly. It needs to be organic or at least serve the story. One of the few useful things I think about from writing class is “Is there really a reason it needs to be that way?” Simplicity works best, but it takes us a long time to get there.

    Obviously…I like researching 🙂 But I really enjoy certain kinds of research more than others. I’m reading something about economics in 1893 right now and it’s so boring. I don’t understand most of it. I want like a kid’s book version of this economic depression with pictures.

    • ^_^ Simplicity really is best. Your teacher was right. There has to be a reason. I’m going to try and save the complicated pyrotechnics for a story that needs them and just figure it out then instead writing stories around them like I have been.

      A picture book version of old school economics would be awesome.

  2. Glad to hear your hamster is doing well! I’m not a research person either -_- But yeah, doing something different for the sake of different just makes it SO STRESSFUL. I’m victim to this because I’m always trying to figure out if my ms is ‘commercial’ enough? Has this been done enough? What makes it different from what’s out there. Stressful as heck! But I feel like as a writer, I’m still figuring out where I fit. I know I belong in YA, but not sure what subgenre. Love contemp, but it’s so hard for me to write a contemp. Fantasy is cool, but compared to others I’m not good at the high level fantasy stuff. I digress. Sometimes writing is tough, but in some weird way it’s why I love it.

    • ^_^ Contemporary is super hard for me, too. I guess I’m lucky that I at least know what genres I fit in, even if the category lines get a little muddled sometimes. I’m definitely not good at high fantasy. The good thing about accepting that everything has probably already been done is that it can free us up to do whatever we want. I want to be different and stand out, but trying to do it is driving me to the nutty people house.

  3. Huge congrats on finishing the draft. That’s epic! And space is always advisable–if you aren’t up against a deadline. I like your attitude of just going with something easy this time around. I have one of those tucked in my coffers, a good old “I get this because it’s me” story. That one won’t come out to play until the entire series is written, but I tell you what, it’s going to be TOTALLY kick trash when it sees the light of day. Anyhow…back on topic. Way to be ambitious with your projects!

    • Thank you! Getting space is always helpful. I can certainly edit better when I’ve had some distance. I love it when awesome ideas wait in the rafters for us!

  4. Yay to the hamster doing well! And big congrats on getting the story done!!!!
    Flash research does sound stressful. I try to get as much of the research done as I can before writing much. Of course, there’s a lot going to after the writing starts too (even outlines don’t keep a story from doing surprising things suddenly) but that’s usually just little things. Taking a lighter route sounds like a good idea to me!
    I’m going to remember not to stress this month and have fun…and you do the same. At the end, we’ll see how far we got, ‘k? Good luck!

    • Yay! ^_^ Thank you! It does feel good to get something new finished finally!! I both love and hate it when my story veers off from the outline. Lol! Yes, down with stress! We’re both amazing writers, we don’t need to stress! 😀 Best wishes to you, too!

Hi! ^_^