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How I Learned To Hate Writing...

Posted by Soberguy , 01 February 2011 · 1,101 views

HOW I LEARNED TO HATE WRITING
by Soberguy

So, as some of you may have noticed, I haven't written anything here in ages. No characters. No fics. No matches. Just snarky message board posts and the occassional private message rant. That's it.

Well, I suppose now I have this blog, but you know what I mean. Stop being a smart-ass.

So the big question I suppose is: "why"? Why after years of relatively consistent production have I buggered off into semi-retirement? Have I lost my edge? Am I totally out of ideas? Have all the creative juices finally been squeezed from me like so much raw mango in a Jack Lalanne Power Juicer? Is this the smoothie of my discontent?

Well, no. Actually, yes. SORT OF. See the thing is, I've been writing the whole time. More accurately, I've been trying to write.

Writing used to be easy for me. I've always got an idea kicking around, so after mulling it about for a bit I'd sit down, type away for 30 minutes and BAM. Hall of Fame. Adoration of the masses. Champagne in the VIP Room. Fic writing was the same - come up with an idea, typey typey typey and out it came. Now, I seldom finished things I started, but my output was fairly prodigious. ASYLUM was only 3/4 done, but it was over 40,000 words when I finally stopped bothering. The point was, writing was easy.

Easy, that is, until I made a fatal mistake. I learned how to write properly.

As many of you know, I took a comic book workshop which completely opened my eyes to how stories should be told. After seeing how it was supposed to be done, every piece of writing I had ever done up to that moment looked like an amateurish hack job. It was enlightening and horrifying all at the same time. What a complete mess ASYLUM was. Inspired in its concept, embarassing in its execution. If I didn't love so much about it, I would have immediately deleted the file and denied it's existance entirely.

Still, I had other ideas kicking around my head and now that I had the tools, making a brilliant story would be a piece of cake right? I can use this to make the best damned fic anyone at the FPL had ever seen! Wooo! I will be revered as a GOD!

So, I started to work on my long-promised "S7 continuity" story. As per my newfound training, I didn't just sit down and write it off the top of my head - I planned. I had seven characters originally, but it became far too cumbersome once I started mapping it out. Looking at the relationships between them, Silent Samurai was clearly the most redundant and quickly got the axe. My unnamed female character became Kittiwake and got an interesting backstory. I mapped out character progressions and relationships. I switched the setting from Illinois to California. Things were humming.

Then I got in a rut. The overall story arc had some big plot holes I couldn't quite fill. I couldn't decide on exactly how to work the ending. I wasn't sure who the bad guys would be. I couldn't fit everything I wanted to tell into a continuous story without it being a 100-issue series. As the plot changed, the characters motivations for moving it forward became lost. Everything was going to hell. My plan was dying.

Of course, I did what any sensible writer would do. I gave up and started working on my Judas story. You don't know about that one yet, but it's brilliant. Well, it could be - except that I ran into the exact same problems. The planning was killing me, but I couldn't even start writing until I had the planning done. I was stuck again.

So that's where I have been. Unable to write because I keep tumbling down the mountain of planning I'm putting into these stories. I can't just write anymore. It's no longer good enough. I know it's going to suck unless I do it right, but doing it right is HARD... and it takes FOREVER... and I'm really really LAZY.

I've made a little more progress lately on S7 (except obviously the name, considering there aren't even seven members anymore and STILL can't think of a decent name). I've crossed some major hurdles in the last week and have been on a roll again. But I hate it, in some ways. I just want to skip to the writing. Even though I know I'll be thankful for it, I've grown to resent the planning. It's there kicking me in the nuts every day and I have to just stand there and line up for more.

SIGH.

Anyhow, hopefully I'll have something to show you all someday.




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Canis Minor
Feb 01 2011 04:35 PM
I suppose it might not be my place to say this, but screw classes, workshops, etc. Everybody wants to teach you what they think you want to know, heck most will teach you everything you could ever need to know. In my experience, the good writers are the guys who are following all the rules that the great writers are breaking. But, hey what do I know?
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Well, my complaint isn't against what I've been taught. I mean, I can see how my writing will be exponentially better by applying what I've learned. I've already replaced a few methods with others that fit me better, so I'm not slavishly bound to the Book of Ty. I just miss being happy with easy, sub-standard writing. Ignorance was bliss. Now the end product will be infinately more satisfying, but it's going to take me a lot longer to spit out.Basically, I want to be a lazy writer but now mt brain won't let me.It was a lot easier to draw when I simply copied stuff out of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and just changed a few costume bits around. It wasn't BETTER, and I shouldn't go back to doing that, but it sure was easier... and I was happy with the results because I was 12 and didn't know someday I'd actually know how to draw for real. A little, anyhow. I grew up, did more work and produced better stuff. Now I'm finally at that stage with my writing I guess.
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By Stan's Beard! Work?!Please do not teach us these secrets. I am quite happy with my below mediocre writing skills. Ignorance is indeed bliss.
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God-Speed_88
Feb 03 2011 12:47 PM
Which bares the question: Is it better to be a satisfied fool, than a know-it-all failure? :POn a serious note, I'd like to give Judas a read.
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patrickthekid
Feb 04 2011 04:51 PM
Woo-Hoo! I finally found out how to get to the blogs!
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On a serious note, I'd like to give Judas a read.

So would I, but sadly most of it is in my head. I wrote two or three introductory chapters, then scrapped it because I switched up how the first act was going to play out. Oddly enough, it was originally meant as a continuation of my ASYLUM story - sort of a spin-off - but I've scrapped that. Still, I've carried over a few characters. If I ever get rolling on it I'd like to use FPL-created villains in the stories to keep it in that kind of homage-y vein that I liked about ASYLUM.My main focus is still the S7 stuff though. Judas is what I work on when writers block sets in. It keeps me from hurling my computer into the creek.Trust me, as soon as I have something worth posting, it'll be up. I'd like to get the origin story up at least - see if people like the concept anyhow.
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