I think that one of the main reasons people don’t write is because they think they have to be good at it right away.
That it should come along the same way we first learned to write, in that it comes along with reading.
You read a lot–ergo, you must be able to write well, hmm??? You’ve read so much you should be able to pump out a good novel pretty easily, right?
Noooooo, that’s not quite how it works.
I should probably change that ‘noooo’, make it something less negative, but I’m not quite sure at the moment how I should be getting across that sort of tone.
Anyway, not to toot my own horn-or, as the case might be, review my own book–but I’m a pretty good writer.
I don’t always have the best grammar, and the from vs form thing that slips past spell check, along with the randomly floating o’s and s’s and f’s drive me crazy… but I’m a good writer.
Mostly Fanfiction right now, but I find it’s easier to iron out plot holes and specifics in fanfiction, easier to get regular feedback, and since in fanfiction you usually have a good idea of what a character is like it means you can really focus on the plot.
It also makes you focus on the actual characters and how to build a situation around preconceived notions, and how to change them.
And, to go back to what I was saying before about the correlation between reading and writing–reading a lot doesn’t mean that you’ll be great at writing, or that writing will come to you easily.
But it’ll help. Boy, it’ll help.
I read a lot of fanfiction, and I read a lot of ‘real’ books, the published kind.
I think fanfiction writers have it a bit easier, because when you read fanfiction you already have a bit of an emotional investment in certain characters (To quote my friend Lisa, who’s been agonizing about the amount of tragedy that’s made it into my And I Wake Up story, “Ianto my babbbyyyyyyy!”), the kind that ‘real’ published books have to work towards.
Gah, and if it tells you how much of a good writer I am, I’m usually a bit better at being cohesive and keep the flow in my writing, but in case you didn’t notice the title, what I’m *trying* to tell you about is my first writing experience.
The non-school kind.
Short stories you’re assigned to write don’t count. Not really to me, but then I never actually got into my short stories, so…
Emma (Middle sibling of te household) has been writing since forever (I think she got into it when she was in the womb…might be why I like reading, she probably left wall scrawls as an embryo–no, weird gross thought, weird gross thought, ick, stoppit, blah, no mom thoughts like that >< ), and if you have siblings you know that some things just end up being their thing.
Like you each have your own seat in the car, your own certain seat, same with your spot at the table, and really, jut about everything gets turned into a ‘but that’s MY ____’ situation at some point.
So writing was her thing.
Anime was also her thing… at first.
She was the one to introduce me to my first fandom. InuYasha.
Fandom: [Fan-dumb] A show/book/series/pretty much anything that you ‘get into’ and follow regularly. Like Gleeks. Or the people into CSI: (whatever). Or Whovians. Trekkies. Whatever. Lots of stuff.
InuYasha: [Ee-nu-yah-sh-ah] anime about a school girl Kagome who gets pulled back to the feudal era by a demon, where she sees and meets other demons, freaks out when the half-demon InuYasha tries to kill her for looking like the Priestess Kikyo–a pretty bitchy character who pinned him to a tree with an arrow for various reasons. There’s also a jewel. Check out the link, but that’s enough of a hook, yeah? Yeah.
So she got me into InuYasha, and I got really into it. Like, I had my own tape so I could record the episodes every Friday… I can’t remember when it was on, but One Piece was on right after it. I also looked up art for it, fan art and everything, and then I was introduced to fanfiction. Went a bit (a lot) crazy over it.
Yeah. I was born to dive head first into fandom.
But, like every person first getting into a fandom, and then discovering fanfction, I thought I could include my own character. I would write fanfiction. That’s different from writing regular stories, yeah? Yeah.
So I developed my character in my head, first, occupying my thoughts to this development during long car rides, when I was bored in class, any time I was listening to music… pretty much all the damn time.
Her name was Alex. (Lexy, I know, but I needed a unisex name because Alex could also turn herself into a himself at will, and yeah this says something about how well this character works out…)
Alex had black hair with silver tips–not dyed, you understand, but whenever you cut her hair the tips would slowly bleach to silver–usually pressed down with a baseball cap.
To those who know me you now know when this character came to be. For those who don’t, I wore a baseball cap all the freaking time for a certain age, indoors or outdoors didn’t matter. Linkylink for more on that.
She also wore a hoody and jeans, usually, and she kicked ass. She came in and fixed every damn thing that I found wrong in the series. Just about every character had a crush on her, and any time a character canonically did something that annoyed me, she would show them the error of their ways–Kikyo was a thing of the past, never mind the evil Naraku (who was also crushing on Alex, btw), and EERYBODY LOVED HER! She was awesome, and had twin brothers who she loved very much (who I think were named Dylan and Scott…) and were the only ones to be able to rein her in.
She could do no wrong, she occasionally had animal ears and a tail, and, oh yeah, she could bring people back to life when she cried about her tragic past.
Okay, so I created a Mary Sue. The annoyingly perfect character that has no place outside of a children’s show.
To be fair (to me), I think this all happened around ’06 or so… and to put that into perspective, I posted my first actual consistent writing venture in ’09.
So one day I sat down and started to write the ultimate intro of Alex to the show, the rock solid base to my obviously huge venture…
It would be epic, Alex would be flippant about her awesomeness, shit would go down and she’d be able to deal with it looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth… Oh yeah, I was prepared to write the epic story for this girl.
I think I got maybe half a page of writing out before I got bored and frustrated, saved the file to a floppy disk, and went to play outside.
I think it may still be on a floppy disk, somewhere. Lost. Forgotten. Ish.
Aaaand once again, that was probably around ’06, maybe ’07… 2-3 years before I actually tried again.
I think I’m rather lucky. I managed to get my first bad writing out of the way. I also managed to figure out what a waste of time a Mary Sue is, though it wasn’t for a long time that I found out what it *was*…. this, however, didn’t make me stop imagining her universe jumping to other shows, and singing and dancing and FIXING her way through their fandoms, either.
I just think more people should write, take a chance, and invest themselves into making up a whole new character, a whole new world *cue music* and all that jazz.
Even if your first attempt isn’t something you’re happy with, or, hell, if your first attempt is something that you are happy with, you shouldn’t be afraid to just sit down and write.
My challenge to you is to joining Camp NaNoWriMo, set a goal for yourself (the default is 50,000 words, but some people are doing 10,000 and less), and reach it before the end of the month.
Also, Regular NaNoWriMo, that’s in November. That’s awesome, too.