I’ve spent this Sunday cleaning. In an effort to de-clutter my house, I finally decided to tackle the pile of boxes I brought home from my parents’ house.
This is one awful pile. It contains relics of my childhood that I don’t know if I can part with. There’s a box of My Little Ponies, an apparently later version of PetSter (read that article- the writer is actually pretty funny), some horribly dismantled Transformers and knock off ‘Bots, and two large totes of writing.
Those two large totes are in addition to the two bookshelves filled with journals and sketch books, plus all the other paper floating around here. What’s that thing they say? Something about the first million words? Yeah, I’m sure I hit my first million words, technically, by eighth grade and another million words by the time I was in college. I should be a lot better than I am right now, but at the same time it is very clear exactly what I’m meant to do.
I’m meant to tell stories. It seems like that gets taken for granted. Like writing and telling stories is the exact same thing, and it isn’t always. There are lots of ways to tell stories, writing happens to be one of them. There are also plenty of writers who write well but can’t tell a good story. We all have our weaknesses.
And so I thought it would be interesting, especially after the last post about setting things on fire, to see some of the crazy things I’ve attempted. I’d love it if others would share some of their own crazy story attempts either in the comments or on blogs. If you have pictures, even better.
This is a page from my first writing binder. I think I was nine or ten when I started it, but I remember using it when I was 13 or 14 sitting on the grass in the backyard listening to the 10,000 Maniacs unplugged album. Of course this stuff was written in pencil. Up until 6th grade, I’d never written in pen before. (Grade school they always wanted us writing in pencil in case we made a mistake. Was every school like that?)
Side shot of the binder. What a mess. I found all sorts of weird things in there. Stickers, clipped articles, doodles, loose papers, home-made book marks. I am leaving this one as it is!
I decided at some point to write a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. On the typewriter. Because we didn’t have a computer until I was in ninth grade. This page here is actually draft two! That means there was a draft one. There might even have been a rough draft written in pencil somewhere.
I got really into drawing and decided that I’d try and become a comic artist. I think this phase only lasted six months. There are only a few pages and no completed comics, so phew! It could have been worse. Much worse.
Just to show there is some hope and not everything I do is complete crap– a drawing I found in one of my much later sketch books. This was in college. I took an art appreciation class and learned about pastels for the first time ever.
What about you? Please share other crazy writing/art mis-adventures.
I have a clear vision of what I want to do and what I mean to do with my stories. My idea is different from almost anything I’ve seen or read– at least book-wise. I think the only thing that comes close are the various anime and manga stories called A.D. Police which is connected to Bubblegum Crisis. Even that’s not exactly what I’m doing here, but it’s pretty close.
This is why I chose to self-publish– because the idea behind this “series” of stories crossing-over, yet standing on their own, is sort of a strange one. There are a lot of complex character relationships and these relationships spread out into other stories. There are events which are out of order. Some events you may learn the outcome of before you read about the actual event. My hope is that I can make an engaging story that stands on its own and hints at more in other stories.
It’s a crazy idea, and I need my beta readers and my poor unpaid editor to tell me what they honestly think. But what happens when the suggestions received make me question my vision? How do I deal with the edits and suggestions without becoming a prima donna? (“You just don’t understand my vision!”)
1. Respect the opinion. If someone is nice enough to share their thoughts, I listen. I’m terrified to hear it, but another view is always helpful.
2. These are just suggestions. The final decision is always mine, and I own that decision. If the experiment goes down in flames, then I’ll stand off to the side with a shrug of my shoulders and be thankful it wasn’t the house. (If it wasn’t the house, that is. Oh crap, it was the house?)
3. I’m not perfect. This is something I’ve come to accept in recent years. In school, I’ll admit I was used to being one of the best, but the bar was set pretty low. All you had to do was show up, be the weird quiet girl, and everyone pretty much assumed you were smart. But now I’m having to actually work, and it’s really difficult. Plus, I’m lazy.
I feel like I should add a final thought here. Something wise and insightful about how you have to trust yourself and your vision and also trust the people whose opinions you’re asking for. Also, if you do set the house on fire, own it.