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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Current Situation

I feel like I'm in a writing dead zone now. I've finished Blood 2: The Unforgiven (and celebrated with the loneliest pizza ever), I took a break, and now I'm trying to write like the writer's do. And nothing seems to be working out. It's not a dry spell, and I don't think it's writer's block. Maybe it's the motivation, or the lack of focus. It was nice when I had that guide for Blood 2, and when I got stuck, I just consulted the guide to see what was supposed to happen next. And I padded the guide so I'd have a lot of text and could call it a novel. Which worked pretty well, I could write about 2,000 words or more a day, and ended at 153,000 (much more than is needed, and now it has to be cut down). Now, I'm not even clearing 500 on a good day, and
those are the days that I write. At first, I tried going back to "Me and My Pac-Man", but at a certain point the story just ran out of fuel. The underlying situation was interesting, and I wrote about that, but anything else that could happen just wasn't satisfying me. I had some ideas, but I lost motivation because A) It wasn't an interesting story and B) I figured I'd run into copyright issues because while not overtly fan fiction, it's still using copyrighted characters, and I doubt any publisher would bother with the risk of a "fair use" or parody lawsuit. Then I tried working on a mermaid erotica story. I thought of this thing when I looked at a contest that asked for erotic fantasy fiction. I got up to the point where he starts to have sex with the mermaid, and then... apparently my story needs viagra. I just couldn't bring myself to write it. I've never really written a sex scene. I barely write kissing. I guess I'm just not cut out for that sort of thing, unfortunately (what's that saying? "Write what you know"?). I don't know if I'm too embarrassed or it's just not my cup of tea to read, or I'm nervous about writing that sort of thing at work, and someone looking over my shoulder. Or maybe I didn't like that lack of intimacy that it had. Maybe I have no idea how to have sex with a mermaid. Maybe someday I'll come back to it when I have more privacy. It's sort of an offshoot or training exercise of a bigger story I thought about where the main character also has sex with a mermaid, and there's more about the science of mermaids around it. It's not like I haven't read erotica before, not like I couldn't write it if I wanted to. But that one's in the pile for now. Thought about writing Avatar, which is like Seaman means EverQuest. I wrote down some notes for this, but haven't started it yet, because I don't really have a good situation or plotline set. It's supposed to be a short story, all of these are, but I just have trouble getting them off the ground. I can't make the short flights. I guess I figure if I'm making a short flight, might as well be by car. Save the big planes for the big jaunts.
Maybe I'm just not good at writing short stories, maybe I'm not a short story guy, maybe I'm a novel guy. Which suprises me because I have such a short attention span, but I think I can get better characterization, tone, and message from a novel. I like that epic feel, I can't get that out of a short story. This is unfortunate, though, because it seems an easy way to get into the industry. All the contests ask for short stories, and that's a good way to get 'resume credit'. Not very many novel contests. And I wonder if it's a good skill to be able to write short stories first. Maybe you need to do that to learn how to conserve words, use the best ones, don't put in filler. On the other hand, I understand people like John Scalzi say they never found writing short stories to have been necessary to get into the biz. But who knows. I guess everyone has their own path. Maybe it's this new strategy I'm trying, it's too draining. I'm trying to do more free-writing, like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman apparently do, but it just doesn't seem to be working for me. I don't know whether I'm too distracted or not, but all these short stories were meant to be practice for my pseudo-cyberpunk book, which I was going to try to write in the same way - not too many notes, no plotting, just let the story flow without expectations of where it's going. Maybe that's just not my style, especially since I already have the ending and beginning in mind, and that's usually the way I roll.
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