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Another year over

and another litany of failures.

This year I:

failed to write a Professionals Big Bang;
failed to complete a single fic, even in first draft;
failed to meet my getyourwordsout target, even though they introduced a reduced target for the chronically ill;
failed to achieve any ushobwri challenges;
failed to write the article for getyourwordsout I promised theemdash.

Having failed in everything I set myself and tried to do, next year I'm not going to try to do anything. There's no point in anything.

Writing and Fan-Fiction

Doing this here because it has more to do with me as a writer than me as a member of any given fandom. (Also doing it here because I don't *want* to post to natsuko1978 for the foreseeable future and I don't even think anyone reads this blog. Does anyone read this blog?)

I've been in Pros fandom for two years. I haven't finished a fic, even though I've filled a lever-arch file (and a few notebooks) with rough drafts and outlines and notes. My first friend in the fandom was MLM.

Even if I finish a fic now, she will never get to read it.

Is it time to just admit I'm not *going* to finish a Professionals fic and quit trying to write them?

Is it time to admit I'm never going to finish *anything*, ever, since I haven't finished anything since my 2008 breakdown?

My body doesn't work the way it used to, fair enough, but neither does my brain. Pain, opiates, depression, SNRIs... between what's wrong with me and the meds that treat them, words, attention span, memory and concentration all fail me.

I had to accept that I could no longer work. Maybe it's time to accept that I can't write, either.

Posting As I Write; Post 2

The Professionals
Bodie/Doyle - first time
Hurt/Comfort, Angst
2534 words (MS Word)

Part 2 of ?
WARNINGS: references to period-typical homophobia (Bodie and Doyle would have been adults before de-criminalisation in 1967), references to Underage and Non-Consensual sexual contact. Anything else pings you, please tell me. :(

This is very much a work in progress, but I'd still appreciate helpful/constructive comments.

There is more of this section as soon as I can get it typed, but I've just spent two days with my feet raised above my heart trying to counter oedema. Fun.

Is this boring? Should this whole thing just be cut? I know it drastically needs editing, because once I get a character on his own with something to think about, I can go 10k without coming up for air - but thoughts??

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Writing for the foreseeable future

There has been writing every day this week - but not so much with the typing.

Also, there has been flailing around because of the whole next scene being Bodie on his own, issue, as I try NOT to cover every one of my head-canon events in the B/D partnership, from Bodie's perspective. I might spend most of my life having conversations with myself in my head, but that doesn't mean it's interesting to read, right?

Also, I have SO many WiPs. Without going into folders I haven't opened in months, there's:Read more...Collapse )

On Writing

I'm torn between throwing out every book and online-bookmark and going with my gut on writing.

I've been collecting books on the subject of fiction writing since I first started to think about taking it seriously, twenty years ago. My first attempt at a novel - opposed to a childrens' book, poetry, short stories and a couple of play scripts, none of them required by school - was when I was 13, but like my favourite books of the time - the sort written by L. M. Alcott and L. M. Montgomery - it was more episodic/slice-of-life than a single core-conflict/thread. Scenes within a situation. Since my dad and maternal grandmother didn't like each other - and my nan was snobbish about my Dad's family and origins (and her husband's family, come to that) because her grandparents had been middle class, horse-and-trap types and lost their money, it made sense to me to write about a woman from the upper-middle classes who married a self-made man, and had both their widowed mothers living in the big house her dad had left her - and the conflicts inherit in that situation. Even without the class issues, living with your mum and mother-in-law in adulthood struck me as full of conflict, even at that age!

But that wasn't a PLOT, as such.

I still love re-reading my Puffin Classics, as well as Austen and the Brontes (I'm a lot less keen on say, Eliot, Dickens, Hardy or A. Trollope). I read far more for the characters than the *story*, which is why I re-read favourite novels more often than read new books, and love non-fiction biographies. Life doesn't have a clear plot, so I don't always need one in my reading.

But modern readers need - so I'm told - a more controlled story structure, so as well as reading modern writers, I started reading about how to do it. And after princessofgeeks (POG) sent me a two-page email on what I was doing wrong on my first SG-1 fan-fiction, I only read *more* about plot and structure. (She thought both the first and last sections of my 10k long story were "unnecessary" and had a completely different take on what my story was *really* about than I'd intended.)

But do I really need a clear-cut sense of what the goal and conflict in each scene I write *is*? i worried that there was no stated goal or conflict in that story opening in my last post - but two people have said it was a good enough beginning and did the necessary - made them want to read on. I read plenty of writers more for characterisation and voice than "what happens" - should I worry so much about checklists and tick-boxes for my writing, or stick with instinct? To me, interest and wanting to read is less clear cut than the advice about "never give your protagonist what he wants". Writing isn't building a table - it can be effective even if the legs are not all the same same length and the joints wobble, can't it?

Surely the only rule that counts is don't be boring/waste your readers' time?

I have so many WiPs. Some of them are middles without beginning or ends, some are beginnings and some are single donee scenes. And I keep going over what I have, trying to make it fit the standards and requirements I keep reading about. Somehow I have to at least *finish* a shitty first draft before I start editing and rewriting. So maybe I WRITE - at least for a month or two - without worrying about process, plot and structure. Maybe I can make a story work without a plot checklist and being able to fill out "Goal, Obstacle, Action" forms for every scene/section.

If I, as a modern woman, can read classic fiction that doesn't obey they modern rules of tight structure - and enjoy it, just as it is, without "making allowances" for different writing/reading habits of the past, is that because, as my brother would put it: "Yeah, but you're weird!" or because the delineation of character and spending time with those people in unexciting situations can still be interesting in the right hands? And if I - and thousands - still read Austen, Alcott and Montgomery for fun, without them being a literature requirement, do they maybe have something? The historical and fantasy novels I read outside of the classics, after all, work at a slower pace and less clear-cut structure than, say, Mills & Boon or airport thrillers. And they sell.

Do I write what I want to read and only worry about structure and plot issues once it's with a First Reader and I work on the first re-write? Do I assume that people other than me are more interested in spending time with interesting people, people they *like* than the stories about those people? I'm always saying to my parents when they watch Eastenders, "Is there ONE character in this you'd actually want to know?" Why do any of us write and read fan-fiction, other than the fascination with certain fictional characters who we want to go living and doing and *being* outside of the format of their origins? Pros is an action/drama - yet the vast majority of us fans write *relationship* and character-driven stories, even if we use the impetus of a CI5 case. Are the people who tell others how to write and what sells to editors, agents, publishers and Joe/Jo Public necessarily right, or is a self-fulfilling prophecy that as book publishers don't print loosely structured stories, no one buys or reads them?

Posting As I Write; Day One - Post 1

The Professionals
Bodie/Doyle - first time
Hurt/Comfort, Angst
1486 words (MS Word)

Part 1 of ?

This is very much a work in progress, but I'd still appreciate helpful/constructive comments. As a beginning does it make you want to read on? Is it in character (or at least believable enough that you'll give me the benefit of the doubt to make it in character)? Would you read the next part? Does the viewpoint work? Anything?

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There Be Writing

While lying down, maxing meds and generally feeling shitty in June (see latest post in natsuko1978), I still managed to write about 4,000 words, taking me to 10k for my getyourwordsout YTD total. Not exactly brilliant for 6 months, but if I manage 12k a month (yeah, right!) for the rest of the year, I can still win GYWO.

My original novel is on its upteenth hiatus and my SGA, SG-1 and Cabin Pressure fics still languish in WiP-limbo but I've been writing a fair amount of The Professionals.

Which means that although taste_is_sweet has no idea who Ray Doyle and Bodie *are*, since she tagged me for the seven-from-seven meme - seven lines from the seventh page of your WiP - she's going to have to suffer Pros fic. Sorry,
sugar. :(

By the time Bodie came back from the bathroom, Ray was already in bed and reading, looking golden in the glow of the bedside lamp. Bodie hung his dressing gown on the back of the door and got into bed beside him. Ray had left the left-hand side, nearer the door, free for him, even after a week apart. It meant something, having his own side of Ray’s bed, even when they didn’t – couldn’t – spend every night together.

Ray lifted his arm without looking up from his book and Bodie tucked himself against him, his head resting on Ray’s shoulder, his hand resting on Ray’s chest, fingers tracing the scars there, idly playing with his chest hair. Ray’s fingers slipped into his hair and Bodie could feel him curling the inch or so length around them.

If you feel like doing this, consider yourself tagged (though as most of my fannish friends are currently Big Banging something they cannot publish until October, I don't expect it, hence no actual tags).
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The Fear

I sometimes feel that, in order to escape criticism, or even the risk of it, it's *worth* saying, doing and being nothing. I often wish I could disappear, erasing even the memory of me.

Most of the time, I don't feel that there is anything in me worth sustaining. I feel so worthless and so useless - and criticism just seems to confirm that.

Yes, writing - even fan-fiction - should be as good as you can possibly make it. But I don't have the energy, the resources the *spoons* for that. I can either give up even the thought of writing - unless it's a Good Day with an extra spoon available, so, say, 10 days a year - or I can lower my standards and say, sod it, it's better to write something than do nothing.
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On Writing

Why am I writing? Who - or what - am I writing for? Does there have to be a reason, does there have to be an audience?

I do want to be read. I want to communicate, mind to mind, with other human beings. That is what writing is. When I read Shakespeare or Austen, the centuries between us do not matter. If you are reading this, it doesn't matter if you are in Canada, Australia, Texas, or the UK. I want to be heard.

But I've been afraid of people for a long time now. Not all my life, but since the bullying got bad at secondary school. I keep the negative voices at bay with paper and fountain pen, but as soon as I type up, I realise that I'm starting to present my writing for someone who is not me to read it. I am opening myself up to hostility and indifference. Either no one will care or people will hate it. And it feels like a judgment on me. The same judgment as the one that convinced me as a teenager that the answer was in suicide.

Inspired by the 23rd Psalm

The LORD, my God's, my Walking Stick,
My every step supports;
He makes a meadow of my Waste
And calms my troubled thoughts

Though Pain, Depression, Debility
Encompass me about;
I shall not fear, nor yet despair,
For God puts them to rout

You have so richly blessed me,
My burdens fly away.
You heal my soul and soothe my heart,
So I can face the day.

My difficulties thus become,
The workings of Your Hand;
I know I shall be healed and whole
When in the Promised Land.