It has already been one hell of a year. And don't you dare say it's just begun.
In fact, let's take a moment and get back on track. We're writers. Let's please go back to it for a second before I lose my mind.
My catch up post or as I'd like to call it my Ah-Ha Sleep Deprived Eureka Moment Post (but I guess AHSDEM post works too) was a little rushed.
I can only describe it as that thing that jerks you away from the gates of dreamland, forces you to sit upright and scrawl on the closest hapless napkin with a lousy mechanical pencil type deal. Seriously. I felt like if I didn't write it down, it'd be lost.
One of the absolute hardest things for a writer is to go through a story dry spell and the beloved series or project flatlining on the table. I think I speak for at least 80% of us when I say it happens.
It's happened to me so many times over the last two decades that you'd think I'd be used to it. But I'm not.
It's still like being emotionally dehydrated. You want to cry but you don't have anything to cry with.
You get it. Going through a dry spell is ugly in so many ways.
Over the course of the last ten years, I've been dealing with not being able to feel truly happy with stories I've written. One series I just could never figure out how to clean up and make it less icky.
|You can read it here but I warned you|
The series I'm trying to fix, I could never figure out the first book to.
Not being able to fix it never affected other areas of my writing life. At least I didn't think so. But it's my fault. I started an editing series on my blog surrounding it so what did I think would happen when I hit a snag?
This is the snag that keeps shutting the project down.
I thought all hope was lost for this story. I thought it was time to gather the pages of edited material, rest them in a box at the bottom of my recycling bin.
I'd allowed myself to cycle through the writer grief stages, which is mostly self-blame and acceptance.
Goodness knows denial had only taken me a few years.
But I missed something so vital to the whole story that I feel like ramming my head through the wall and shrieking with frenzied delight.
It's not a spoiler alert. Or an actual call for suspense, but I actually didn't stay true to the story or the character or what I would want to read. I couldn't tell you why I thought I needed to tug at the skeleton to stretch it into a massive volume.
At the time, I was watching The Vampire Diaries and reading Twilight, sure. And both are obviously long running, thick story things. My thought is that I probably wanted to build atmosphere and lost myself but looking at what I did, I have no real clue what the goal was or why I stopped after 100k words.
I think that in some way, trying to immerse myself must have had a hand in it. Not sure how much but it's a fragment.
The other thing, the reason I mentioned the series above is because the plot of one of the unpublished parts of the story actually rolled into this current series.
But Vannette and the other series' protagonist Ariel have nothing more than being girls in common. Maybe one moment where their lives intersect where their fates are handled by different groups, but they deal with that moment so differently, I really have no idea what I did wrong.
I treated Vannette like she was part of a paranormal romance pairing. And she never was.
Vannette was always destined to touch a world running close to her own. But her story was never going to be about falling in love with a supernatural person or any person.
I am notoriously terrible at romance. My idea of romance is laughing a little whenever I think of Jack sinking into the Atlantic.
|Don't judge me. I can't help it. I think it's funny.|
I can read romance. I can appreciate the kind that makes me swoon, squee, and giggle. Can I write it? No. Do I want to? No. Not particularly.
The same way I enjoy having a salted caramel hot chocolate without having interest in making it myself.
If the romance thing wasn't enough, I shoehorned Vannette into being helpless when that girl is part of the fearless daredevil neighborhood kids.
Ariel is notoriously screwed in the series. (Spoiler Alert!) What can I say? I like to see how close to dead I can get someone before my brain kicks in some magical Deus Ex Machina to continue the series.
I liked the thrill of having someone helpless to a great supernatural force and dismantling the gathering forces trying to protect her. (And not being enough.)
So I tried to recreate it (but better!—younger me) and forgot to transplant who the actual helpless person was.
I noticed problems.
Of course I did. She always wanted to be different. Too soon, I thought, and I'd erase all the things I wrote in my Vannette-fueled haze.
But of course that's why there's never any progress.
You guys wanna hear the irony?
The actual Vannette never wanted to move forward because the path she was on deviated from what she thought her future should be. In other words, she was like I was. Trying to force things to go a certain way.
I know. I know.
The worst thing is that the cherry on top was not even wanting to read the story myself.
I just kept making more drafts. Going one way. Allowing Vannette to change now that Book I was over.
I truly believe we write the books we need when we need them. The inside talking to the outside.
I think Dawn, my series before Vannette, was something I needed to escape unrequited love and fears of the future. And what I needed to say to myself I said.
And Vannette, I probably won't understand what I meant with Vannette until later. But this time around, I am willing to listen.
She wants to be a superhero. Save the boy. Be violent. Love her snarky friends and family. Be silent and content. Take photographs. And hear stories about stars.
And I want to go through all that with her too.
It feels like I'm talking to an old friend. It feels like a reconciliation.
As dumb as this sounds, I don't think I meant to cause myself so much harm. I think it was an honest mistake trying to keep feeling good about something and not wanting to let it go.
But as you all know, there are millions of ways to feel good.
TLDR: fuck it. Write whatever the hell you want to write. You will be happy you did.