When I was younger, writing was something I did with my weekends. (Honestly, I had no social life.) It was basically something I did when inspiration hit. That is not to say it’s something I regret. I learned a lot from play writing. I used to say I wanted to be a writer, but I eventually learned that at that point in my life, I just wanted to write.
It shows in the stuff I worked on. They meander. There’s no beginning or end. I never finished a story because I never had one to finish. But I was laying the groundwork for the stuff I’m writing today.
Recently, I’ve made more of a push to write daily on a focused project. This is something I was doing before, kind of, only now I’m more conscious of it. I can write whatever I’d like but unless I write some words on my intended project, it doesn’t count. It means that at some point, I’m going to have to seek quiet time and add some words.
You know, I’ve discovered that I don’t like first drafting! At least not when I have a goal in mind. It’s not the plotting things out that’s the problem. It’s just the act of getting this shaped story out of my head. Often it sounds so good in there and then so good on paper when I write out my plan. Then I get to actually writing the thing, and I hate it. Problems crop up, and I have to find a way to push on through until I can get to the end.
I’ll be honest, I do some editing as I go. That might be part of the problem. I’m not a great planner, so sometimes ideas occur to me while I’m writing and then I have to fix it to carry on. It doesn’t always mean abandoning whole bits of story, but sometimes things will require a realigning which is dangerous work itself.
I still love play writing. Those are the stories that crop up out of nowhere and probably have nowhere to go. They’re still fun. I don’t consider those first drafts because I rarely intend to get anywhere with them. I think they just serve as a nice break from focused writing.
As for writing daily, whether inspired or not, I have to say it’s working. If I miss a day, there is no catch up day. I need to seize each day for the precious commodity it is. I do try to ease into the writing daily by working on blog posts or play stories. I make a deal that at some particular point (usually 4pm for me), I will sit down and write on the project. It’s been a little bit of a fight lately. That’s why this post is late and I haven’t spent too much time online. But it’s been getting done. Last night, I sat down and wrote before bed, adding something like 1,000 crappy words which may help me get past a difficult part.
My intent is to have a first draft soon. I’m almost there. I have a lot of work ahead.
This isn’t exactly news. (I don’t think anyway.) Lucas hasn’t ever really been satisfied with the original versions of Star Wars. It’s why he got into making special effects in the first place. He wanted to make the movies look better. He had a vision and he wanted the movies to be closer to what he imagined.
There are plenty of issues within these issues. You have a man who was a film maker who created something so popular, he never really made a film again. I sometimes wonder with all the hub-bub if this is the reason for Lucas’ dealing with the fans and with his movies. He seems to enjoy doing things that he knows will piss people off just because he can. Fans may cry that the movies belong to all of us, they’re part of the culture now, but he wants to remind them that ultimately the movies belong to him. He’s quoted as having said:
“The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the [Special Edition] version.”
This makes me sad. It’s sort of a mean thing to say to people who loved the original just as it was. It seems… ungrateful. This is why I have the theory that secretly, maybe even subconsciously, Lucas hates Star Wars because it derailed his entire career. If it’s subconscious, that might explain the prequels a bit. (At least it does to me, because while I don’t exactly hate them, they do manage to undercut many of the good bits of the original movies– like the force that binds everyone and everything together suddenly being the biological work of the Midi-chlorians which kills the element of faith that the force originally was meant to require.)
Looking at this entire thing as a fan, I won’t like, it makes me sad. I love the unaltered originals for no other reason than I saw them first. Watching them makes me remember that amazement I felt when I was four and sitting much too close to the TV. I don’t believe the old movies were “good for their time.” I believe the old movies, with the old special effects, actually do hold up. It’s not like when you watch old Star Trek episodes with the old metal panels with all the lights and buttons. (Which I admit I love. That has it’s own charms.)
Looking at this as a creator, I have a few reactions. I wonder why he’s so ungrateful to the people who supported him all these years. Then again, it is his work, and he’s revisiting it with more experience now and better technology (which he had a hand in developing). Doesn’t that mean this could turn out better and that fanboys and fangirls are just whining because, ultimately, people don’t like change? But then again, I also know there is a such thing as over-editing. A creator can easily keep editing and editing, trying to reach some shifting vision and in the process turn their piece into mulch. This is especially possible when the editing happens over the course of decades. At some point you should stop because you can’t always trust your judgment. It’s why I share my work with beta readers who I can trust to give me solid and honest opinions.
So I guess this is the thing– when something becomes part of the public, they will have opinions on it. Does it belong to them? Do they have a right to tell the creator what they do and don’t want to see? Should the creator completely disregard their opinions? It’s a fine line to walk. As I see it, this wouldn’t be so bad if Lucas would simply respect his fans and understand that they love the old movies. So maybe that’s the key? If you have fans, be grateful for them and don’t get mad when they have opinions on something that means a lot to them.
(This post brought to you by The People vs. George Lucas, which is on Netflix right now. It’s worth a watch if you’re a fan.)
So I’ve been in my cave fixing up the next story. It involves (as always) a lot of chocolate, some cheeseburgers, and plenty of rolling around and moping. Editing is a pain in the ass, but there’s no way around it. I’m going to have to read and re-read this short story until I’m absolutely sick of it. The hope being that I will get this thing closer to what it’s meant to be in comparison to the Beta version, which was just a structure made out of straw. (Appropriate considering that one blog post.)
As I’ve been working on the story, it occurred to me that there are stages to editing that seem to occur every time I start this entire process. So for your entertainment, I present to you my stages of editing.
Stage 1. Denial
*looks over suggested edits* “What? That? No, I can’t change that. That’s genius. They just didn’t understand that bit. I’ll fix it.”
Note: Be careful writing email responses in this stage.
Stage 2. The Turn around
*still looking at edits* “Yeah, I’ll fix it. This thing over here wasn’t clear, and this thing, why the crap do I keep saying that?”
Stage 3. The Dead Stop
*looks at project again* “OMG, did I send this out? To people? To read? This is horrible! Who said I could be a writer? What possessed me to think this was something I could do?”
Note: I wonder if this is where people just flat out stop? At this point, writing and fun no longer co-exist. There’s nothing but a huge gaping hole where the ego used to be. It’s very lonely at this stage.
Stage 4. Burgeoning Hope
*looks at project and edits side by side* “Hey, you know, if I do this, and then that and end with this, it might not be so bad. Let me try this.” *grabs something fun– like scissors, colored index cards, a white board– and starts a new project*
Note: I think this is where writers fails at failing. It must get fixed– if possible. And in that crazy writer’s brain filled with voices and images of another world, it totally is possible.
Stage 5. Acceptance
“Okay, so maybe they were right about this and this. And this and this and this. Also, I seem to have an issue with commas, hyphens, and paragraphs which still make me question myself, but I can do this thing.”
To everyone out there editing a story, hats off to you! Know you’re not alone.
Also, have I mentioned that Great Minds Think Aloud is having a giveaway? Yes? Well, I’m mentioning it again. Enter using this contest form. Lots of free books to be had. There are other book giveaways going on as well, so be sure to check it out.
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.