Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Here it is, again. How are you feeling? Are you good?
Are you ready for Nano?
In the famous words of one of my favourite characters on TV, Oh Boy! - When my friend asked me if I was ready, my response was, asterisk cry asterisk, literally. And then it was along the lines of 'I'm not prepared, my brain is yucky and I haven't thought about it enough.' The truth is, I have thought about nothing else and sometimes that can be a downfall when you're trying to write a novel. If I overthink an idea the novel is capital shite before I've even started writing it. Jenny, being the amazing and ever so supportive friend, gave me a little reassurance and in that moment, I realized something...
Our conversation went a little something like this.
Me: I *do* want to write for Nano this year but I don't know, it might be that I need to write something *human*, if you know what I mean.
Jenny: I know exactly what you mean (she always does)
A.I VS Just I
A lot of my stories are young adult/fantasy/horror/supernatural and while I find those worlds enthralling, addictive and hugely satisfying, it can be tiresome. Making things up is a lot of fun, if I want to, I can create a very damning judge, he can be as harsh as the winter with silver strands in his hair, luminescent eyes and a scaly tail hiding behind that big black robe. I am a writer, therefore, I am Harry Potter. I can flick my wand also known as beating up the keyboard and say/do whatever I want. But one thing I realized as I struggled to choose a story I *wanted* to write was this, sometimes the only way to push yourself is to write what is real.
I struggled mentally through October, wondering what I was going to write, because let's face it, a lot of us writers are drowning in stories waiting to be written, we know a lot of them won't ever be written/finished and some of those we get finished, won't ever be published but we keep going for those that will be written and hopefully published, if armoured with enough thick skin and self-belief.
My field may well be urban/young adult/supernatural/fantasy type stories but after years of writing it, I suddenly became aware (trust me to leave it a day before Nano) that I wanted something real, harshly real. I wanted to write a human story.
Don't get it twisted people; I can make a scaly judge, human. I can pinprick that black heart and give you/readers little glimpses that temporarily restore your faith in him and his ability to to feel, using supernatural interferences that force him to act and then harden again. But, I want *human* - I want someone like me, who can't wave a wand, morph into a stronger entity, stir a cauldron or heal from wounds to escape pain, despair, fear or any of those gripping and sometimes crippling emotions. This time, I don't want to escape. I want to stay behind and fight the good fight. That way, if and when the protagonist finds freedom, so do I. I get to let go of some of those emotions I related to when he/she does. I get to heal a few weeks/months later when he/she does and I get to look back at all I've accomplished, whether he/she perishes or not.
Once Upon A Time
And so, the writer of this blog, yours truly, lived happily ever after once realizing her destiny was to write a human story. Bravo.
After I explained that to Jenny, in not so many words, I knew that's what I wanted to do. As much as I want to write Slate Jaxon, because he's probably one of my favourite protagonists, next to Nikki Askatino and Kit Acuzio, I'm not ready to tell his story yet. So, I guess the mystery as to why his eyes are so damn red and why he'll end the world will have to remain a little while longer. Sorry!
Advice for Jenny, advice for you
Advice was also exchanged between us girls, first with her, offering me up as my own source to draw from when writing my human story, which leads me to my advice to you. Firstly, even if I'm writing a supernatural thriller, I use real experiences, my own experiences and then I twist them to fit in with the characters I'm writing. If your life is already pretty shit then twist that to your advantage, happy ending, anyone?
If your life is boring, take your characters on an adventure down to Bricklane in London, pretty wild there, or stretch your imagination a little further and take some dragons on a fire breathing tournament.
Secondly, just let go. Please, let go. As soon as you let yourself believe that your character(s) telling the story and not you, you might just hit less road blocks. Make a road map but only if you're willing to let your characters choose their own path.
And lastly, the fact that you're writing is incredible and whether you manage 5k, 20k 0r 50k, the attempt and the courage of getting involved at all is an achievement. So, do your best to ENJOY your story and your characters and pay as little attention to the word count as possible. Whatever you have at the end of the month is all that matters.
Have fun and good luck!