I’m going to do something I very rarely do on this blog. Something I most likely should do more often. It’s that time again, I’m going to talk about writing. Or well, my own writing. You know, that thing I really like doing and rarely talk about, favoring geekfoolery talk instead. Not to say there’s no geeky shit I really want to discuss right now.
Kingdom of Loathing recently changed one of its major elements in the game. Apparently Valhalla, the area you go to after ascensions to choose the path, class, and moon sign of your next run has seen some massive changes. I’m currently at the Naughty Sorceress quest, and as soon as I have finished that I’ll be ready to dive into it. I can’t wait!
Oh, and then there’s A Song of Ice and Fire. With each page of that series I’m more ashamed that every time I thought of picking it up I went for things like Wheel of Time and Sword of Truth instead. The TV version, A Game of Thrones isn’t too bad either.
This post isn’t about the indie games I’ve been playing through recently either. I was looking for things to review besides Nintendo DS titles and got the idea that there’s enough free games out there on the web. Reviewing those might be a good idea. Apparently it was, since posting my review and tweeting about it earned me a retweet and a little interaction with the guy behind the game.
No, this post isn’t about any of that. I wanted to talk writing for a second.
One thing I’ve noticed in the past couple of years is that the more I write. The more I love writing. Yes, there is this pre-writing stress that kicks in and stops any attempts of word-making, but that’s always going to be there. There isn’t much you can do about it. Waiting for it to go away is a waste of time. Time you could spent writing.
You open that page, and words don’t come out. Or they come out in ugly misshapen lumps. Ugly. Deformed. How is anyone ever going to love these abominations? Exit! Run! Send them away!
Writing will always be like that for me, and that’s a good thing. I know that 95% of all writing advice posts say this. Heck, like 99% of all creative activity based posts keep saying this. But it’s true. If you’re stuck. Struggling. Don’t know what to do. Do it anyway. Make the worst thing possible, see what comes out. As much as you’ll hate it now, there will be a point where you look back and go “Holy balls of fuckery, I created something!”.
Take The Story With No Name that I’m writing for instance. Oh yeah, the entire story is decorated with lampshades hanging on loose plot threads that in turn hide the plot holes… But unlike most of my writing it actually is there. There’s finished chapters. And it keeps going. Things are happening in that story that I never would’ve thought when I started it. Heck, I didn’t think The Story would get any readers, but it does. And not just the people who are featured in it read the thing either.
And The Story could have easily turned into another one of those ideas I could brushed off and just go “Nah, it’d never work.” Like so many other ideas end up doing. Or it could’ve just ended up unfinished with about 2k words ending with nothing. Just like a lot of my other ideas. Right now it’s got about 12k, not counting the many times I took out entire chapters to redo them and take everything in a different direction. These things happen. Often at the last minute. This count also doesn’t include the bonus chapter I included into it that someone else, Tilly wrote. Because that would be cheating.
Although that’s not even my favorite thing about having done something like The Story. Being really simple and silly in nature, it can be taken into just about any direction. I can throw ideas and plans at it and see what it’s like to handle it. Other people give me ideas, and I’ll try to find ways to make them work inside of it. I kick out characters after several chapters and then go back and retool the whole thing to see how everything plays out if a different character was there instead… which leads to rewriting nearly everything instead.
It’s an experience in itself. And the only thing that set the whole thing off was just the decision to do it. To not stop with it. To keep going. To make. Even if I get stuck.
Right now I’m working on another piece. Something a lot more serious, and that’s going to take a bit more thought and effort to pull off. There’s a few things I’ve never tried in that before involving narrative and twists that I’ve never really done before in anything and I’m really interested in seeing how I can make that work.
My main problem is how little I actually know of the genre. I’ve read a few short stories. A few TV shows. But that’s about it. Even watching and reading those I never really stopped to think and appreciate what crime fiction is. Heck, during my hours, HOURS of ahem research on TVTropes, I never really went for genre specific tropes. Or at least ones relating to crime. I really should. Because in a lot of ways I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Then when I look back, I feel like I knew what I was trying to do, had some good characters, but had no idea how to get there.
I wonder if I could commit a murder and get arrested and then plead for “Research” in court…
What’s also interesting with this story, at least for me, is that it’s serious. It’s crime fiction. No fantasy. No magic. No pokemon fighting against zombies. No steampunk conventions. I’d say no comedy, but a few twists of the dark comedy knife are never out of place. At least, in my opinion they aren’t.
Most of the time I’m afraid of talking about this kind of stuff on my own blog. Or even on Twitter. I often get this feeling that talking about it will unmask me for the fraud that I am. That it will show all those amazing people who I am nowhere near the essence of writerness that they all are.
That’s complete bullshit of course. If you look around enough, you see people struggling with the same thing. All those people are all amazingly talented, are all really polite, and likely smell really great too.
Me? Well, erm. I can string words together to a point of coherency at least half the time. I’m nice every now and again. And I shower daily.
I hope that’s good enough.