Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Which I Remember Why I Hate This

whew. I really didn't wanna hit the RAGE! button so close to the beginning and scare off potential readers. I feel all expunged now. Thanks for hanging in. A few quick things:

1. Firstly, does anyone know where the quote on my header comes from? It's one of my favorites, and I can't remember where I found it, or who it's by, and I looked it up and couldn't find it. I feel like an ungrateful hack leaving it at "unknown" like that. So if anyone knows, help a lady out?

2. Thank you to the amazing awesome person who went and left a comment. My first comment! From a person I don't know! OMG I'm like, a blogger now, or something. Shoot.

3. I realized, belatedly, that my post may have left out people who were disabled through accident, illness, or circumstances that arose later in life. I apologize. The situation at hand centered around people born with disabilities, and since I myself was diagnosed in early infancy, and most of the people I know from the community were similarly diagnosed shortly after birth, I sometimes lump us all together when I discuss the political and social aspects, and forget that a person who is disabled later in life may experience things drastically differently than one who has been born into it. I'm fairly confident to say I'm sure we all feel ostracized in similar ways by portrayals in the media, but I wanted to be clear I didn't mean to leave anyone out.

So. Now that's done. You know what else?

Beginnings suck. I do not like writing beginnings. They are crap. They are hard. I am a terrible writer and nobody loves me, either. hmph. Y'know what I like to write? I like endings. When I write a screenplay, I always, always know like, the last 20 minutes. So I get through the VICIOUS HELL OF WRITING THOSE FIRST 10 @#%$?! PAGES LIKE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO, and then reward myself by writing the last half hour. I almost never even have to edit it much. Then I just muck around in the middle for like, 100 pages or so. You know what? That's really hard to do with a novel. I don't have a set page limit. Plus, I kind of like, know where we're going to end up, but, unlike with a script, I am responsible for all the detailed nuances of how we get there, and I don't know them all yet. So I have to tackle this thing head-on, and chronologically. Not everyone has to do that, as I understand, and if you have a secret for doing it the other way, I would really like for you to share it with me.

I think I know where some of the problem is, to be honest. In all of Hannah's early incarnations, I touched a little on her infancy and origins, but left most of it to be explained at a later date, and much of it glossed over and left 'in the ether' so to speak. With this new, darker version, I cannot afford, nor do I really want, to leave that up to someone else to interpret. Not that I don't know the other characters at least as well as I know her, not that I can't get inside their heads it's just... I like hers better. Hannah's respective mothers both come into the story from bad places, and early on, I don't particularly like them. And I have to make them a little bit unlikeable, which I didn't have to do the first or second time I did this. Plus, I'm not good at subtlety, and I'm worried I'm going to give too much back story right off the jump. Pretty much I'm worried that after all this time, I still suck.

I wouldn't be doing this project if I didn't think Hannah could do it. If I thought the story was a good example of what I was capable of in high school, but it was time to let it die, I would move on. There are other novels I would like to write. (Don't ask me about the damn vampire novel. Don't.) This project is one part narcissism, one part that PUBLISH HANNAH occupies slot #2 of my List Of Things To Do Before I Die. But another part of it is, I owe it to myself to be the writer I set out to be when I began the project. I owe it to fourteen-year-old me to say, "This is what you wanted, and it was possible. It is possible." And I owe it to me now to say that I maybe haven't always been as good as I am now, and hopefully, I will be better eleven years from now, but the stories can come out amazing,  not just in spite of, but because they were written by me. Because I am talented, but lots of people are talented. Nobody else has my stories, and that means something. This is a story that I want to be told, and in my best moments I sometimes believe that this is a story that needs to be told, and it's mine. It's good. It really is. And that I can go 'on record' to say that is the miracle of the thing.

When I was fourteen, though, I had no idea how much I sucked. By now I'm aware enough to know my weak spots. Not that I wanted to be able to continue writing absolute crap uninterrupted, but it makes first drafts that much harder, because the general rule that first drafts always suck, you're going to hate them, and you're supposed to just know that, is clouded up by all that, "maybe if I just do this..." And I could just wring my own neck. Because after all this time, I know, in the way that I am an intelligent person with some experience, at least, with the writing part of writing that the first draft sucks, and that mine especially suck. But I still sometimes feel like it makes me a bad writer. To just see it sitting there. Being awful.

Whatever. We've begun, anyway, she and I, taking little steps, but hopefully, moving fast, as Hannah says. When I stop having to count each word to reassure me that I am moving forward, you'll be the first to know.

1 comment:

  1. Because anything is better than doing what you are supposed to be doing, I looked around for the author of your quote.

    Here's what I think: I think that someone may have read something, then paraphrased it, and made it into the quote that you have published. I found several quotes that are similar to that which you have published. The closest of which comes from Mark Twain.

    Keep in mind, seeallywrite, that "words are slippery and thoughts are viscous". Henry Brooks Adams (1907)

    Best of luck in your author search!