My story is finished. I hit the word count today and it came in a little over 9.5K. This is an awesome day.
I’ve been chatting with various folks on forums and many agree that finishing a story is a massive hurdle many writers will never make it over. Some will face plant straight into it and not recover. Others will see it approaching and change direction, giving up for a while before returning with a new story only to fail again.
But what do I really have here? Have I really got a finished story? Have I fuck.
I’ve got a massive lump of clay.
That lump is now ready for the real fun to begin. The story’s there, hidden and lost in crap but I know it’s there. Over the next day or so I’ll dig it out and watch it take form on the page. This is what re-writing is all about, and if you ask me, this is the real secret that wannabe writers everywhere are really looking for. I should point out that I am one of those wannabe types so I am in no way using the word ‘wannabe’ in a derogatory manner. That said, I am of the believe that nothing worth having comes easily. I believe you have to work bloody hard to finish that story, before you can even begin. That makes no sense right? Wrong. It makes perfect sense. Half the battle is not knowing where your story is going. If you can get a beginning, middle and an end down on paper then you’re half way there. It really doesn’t matter if what you have actually written is utter guff, because this is where re-writing comes in to its own. It’s easier to re-write a paragraph than it is to make up one from scratch. That’s my view anyway and I believe it really is the secret to writing.
Well, I’m sorry to make this such a short post but I have a bottle of wine to crack open now in celebration of reaching my word count. Then with highlighter in hand and a pencil or two I’ll put the secret into practice.
I won’t lie. I want to make money out of this writing lark. I’m sure many people do, as I’m sure many people actually do. But can I?
There in lies the question at the heart of the matter. There are a few concerns I shall list below that are at the forefront of my mind whenever I ponder this subject.
1) Do I have the motivation to stick to a given deadline? I really don’t know. If the frequency of my blog posts is anything to go by then you would be forgiven for thinking that the answer is no. And yet, I write an awful lot behind the scenes and 90% of the dribble I do churn out is just sitting on my pc’s hard drive. I tell myself that maybe one day it might make interesting reading but in reality it probable won’t. I am a victim of today’s fast society. Everything must be now now now. I need instant gratification. If I start reading something that hasn’t got me hooked within the first few lines then I’m gone. It hurts to say that because I know how hard it is to write. To spend hours crafting something, rewriting countless sentences and re-reading paragraph after paragraph – you don’t need someone like me deciding it’s not worth the effort after reading your first line. Perhaps I’m missing out. Maybe. Or maybe I’m saving time for those writers who know how to grasp my attention.
2) Talent. Quite simply, do I have any? How do you gauge this? I could (and have in the past) give my work to my friends or family to see what they think. But what are they really going to say? It’s doubtful they’ll be rude or harsh in their critique, just as its likely they’ll come back with something nice to say about it. They won’t be impartial and because of that fact, anything they say wont mean a damn because you just never really know what it is they really think. So what do you do? My personal thought on this is to not give anything you value to friends or family. Instead, send something you love equally out to the competitions. Let the public be the judge. I have a few bits and pieces on another website right that are doing quite well. A short story I wrote while smashed off my face a year back is still ranked number one in its particular category. Yet, when I re-read that piece I cringe. It’s grammar is appalling and I clearly didn’t proof read it before submitting but there you go. I guess maybe even if it looks bloody awful (and it really does), the underlying story still somehow shone through the shite. It never ceases to amaze me what people really like.
3) Were my fortune to change and I managed to sell something, or several bits and pieces…. How much would I have to sell before I actually made enough to live off? I’m not in this for mega money. I’d just like to be able to get up, not bother getting dressed, sit in my study and paint with words all day whilst not having to worry about how to pay the bills. That’s not too much to ask is it?
4) Where do I find the writing jobs people say are everywhere? How do you break into writing for tv or role play gaming?
5) Where the hell is the writing oracle who knows all the answers to my noob questions??????
Well there you have it. I know I’m not alone, and that there are 100000000000 of you wannabe writers out there but I just thought this post might strike a chord with some. We travel a lonely road but maybe someone reading this has seen the off ramp somewhere and might throw a few sign posts up? Then again, maybe that’s why the road is lonely. If its that hard to get to where you want to be… Maybe you feel nobody should have an easy time of it. I mean, if you worked as hard as I am right now to get where you are, are you really going to let someone else in who hasn’t put in the time? I’d be interested to know any thoughts people may have.
Plot! Does anyone else find plotting bloody irritating? Its not like I’m trying to overthrow a government here. I can understand that that would be hard. No, I’m just trying to plot my own damn story.
Normally I’ll try and wing a story. I’ll have a vague idea and I’ll try and just bash it out in one go. Then I’ll discover that my cool ‘story’ idea is actually just a cool ‘scene’ and that once I’ve written this scene I hit a brick wall.
Not today though. Today I wrote an outline. I had hoped the outline would keep me on track, that I would somehow start and finish and that the result would make sense. Nope. Didn’t happen. The finished product had no resemblance to my outline at all. In my outline, I’d set the scene in some old women’s bedroom. Shut up. It’s not that kind of story. So, My character is supposed to be in this bedroom but instead the scene opens in a street in London. My protagonist female is now a male, and instead of regaling us with a rip roaring tale of a past life he is now charging up a London backstreet where he gets his head kicked in.
What the hell is that all about? What happened to my plot that I had written so carefully in my outline?
Can you imagine if that had been a paid job?
Editor: ‘Er… Mark, what the hell is this shit? I asked you to write a story about a roman hero and his rise to glory. He is supposed to heap piles of skulls at the feet of his own Emperor before casting him down and taking the empire for himself. He’s supposed to do all of this armed only with a stave. And what is this you’ve given me? Some weak shit about a mad giraffe who pebble dashes his way across the Serengeti before being unveiled as the reincarnation of Shaka the Zulu. Your fired!’
Oh dear. Does anyone else struggle with plot? I find it hard enough just coming up with a bloody idea, and should I actually come up with an idea/cool scene, it never seems to appear on the screen as I type. It’s almost as if my fingers are working against me. Yes! That must be it. My brain says,
‘Fingers! You will write this crazy cool scene.’
‘Oh okay sure, no worries. Leave it with us.’
*Cue cute finger sniggering*
Oh god it’s happening even now. I wanted so much to write something insightful about plot but… but… It’s the fingers I tell you! They’re holding me back!
I don’t need fingers! Who needs fingers??
P.S I am not drunk.
P.P.S I am now drunk.
P.Ps. I an oh fuck it.