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Interesting news and frustration... [Apr. 25th, 2014|10:52 am]
So, there's... kind of good news.

I've got this idea in my head for a set of stories.

That's, well, good. I haven't even imagined myself writing stories in *forever*. Years. I mentioned once that I felt odd when I realized I didn't have a *scientific calculator* any more (though in my defense, I thought I had one - I'd found a technical calculator ready to be thrown out, and snapped it up, but it was financial. For a person who went to the High School of Engineering and Science, that's probably a pretty weak defense, alas).

That I didn't even have a stupid idea or two that I'd play with was weird.

Now? Now I have this interesting idea I can see playing out. Probably not original to me, but interesting. It could be fun.

That's the good news. The bad news is, as a writer of salable fiction, I suck. I have a hard time making interesting characters, and making them different enough that they're not just props in the unfolding of a history.

Trouble is, writing can be like sex - if you're doing what you enjoy, it can feel so good you can fail to notice that you suck at it. It can be even worse if you're technically proficient, but still suck. Yeah, you get the job done, but it doesn't pop.

I'm not sure if it's good or bad that I realize this.

I suppose it can't hurt. There's nothing wrong with writing to feel good, even if you suck at it. We can even continue the sexual metaphor and add Heinlein's admonition to wash your hands afterward.

[User Picture]From: jhetley
2014-04-25 06:59 pm (UTC)
The first half million words are just practice . . .
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2014-04-28 07:32 pm (UTC)
Heh. Yeah, true. But it's not quite that. There's just a certain knack I'm missing, of making real people.

I'm not a *bad* writer. In the days of the pulps, I might have done okay for myself.

It's just... when I start writing, I start flying, and I hate when I look back and realize it's dreck. And it's not like there's something wrong with dreck. If I wanted to draw, if I had fun drawing, I wouldn't care that my drawings sucked.

But if I drew, and I *flew* and felt *wonderful* about my drawing, then it would hurt to look back and realize they don't look like, well, anything.

So the question is, will it hurt to write what amounts to a text based comic book, and realize later that it was a comic book, and not all that great of one?

(The ironic thing is that this is precisely about comic books. The setting is a comic book world and some ordinary people pulled in, probably to Save The Universe.)
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[User Picture]From: jhetley
2014-04-28 08:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well, there's revision too. I do a lot of rewriting. Then other people read it with fresh eyes and tell me to cut this and explain that and what the hell was I thinking there. I have an agent who reads things and say where they don't work. I have editors who do the same. And copyeditors.

A famous bit of writing advice is, "Give yourself permission to write really shitty first drafts." If the words are down on paper/electrons, you can revise the hell out of them.
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[User Picture]From: grey_lady
2014-04-26 04:48 pm (UTC)
If you enjoy writing, then by all means write!
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2014-04-28 07:10 pm (UTC)
Well, to push the sex metaphor further, this has some dangers akin to a lonely person hooking up.

It can feel wonderful while it's happening, making it seem better and more meaningful than it is.

And it's easy to fall in love, if you're the kind of person with that history. And then one might start building castles in the clouds which are doomed to crash down to earth.

And I'm a tiny bit nervous that it could steal away energy from something equally fun but more rewarding.

But yeah - in the end, writing isn't a terrible hobby, if I have the energy for it. And maybe someone will hear of the idea, and take it and make it good.
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