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Fandom Toxicity

Do you have a favorite TV show, book, video game, YouTube channel, or movie? Does it have a passionate fandom?

Fandoms are really interesting to me. I’ve always been a “fan” of things, and I love many of the things that super passionate fandoms create. I loved reading Harry Potter fan fiction in high school when it was at it’s height. I love watching Delena (The Vampire Diaries) and Captain Swan (Once Upon a Time) romantic moment compilations on YouTube. I love looking at fanart of Sailor Moon or Mario or Zelda or Disney characters. I love consuming much of the amazing thoughts, art, and tributes that my favorite fandoms produce, and even contributing to the fandoms myself as I sometimes write about my predictions or hopes for my favorite TV shows here on my blog and on YouTube.

But not everything that passionate fandoms create is beautiful and happy.  I’ve been noticing lately that some of my favorite fandoms have a creeping layer of toxicity under the surface that I’m rather disappointed with.

What seems to be happening is that fans have SUCH a vehement connection to a show/movie/game/character/creator that they feel a sense of ownership over it.  So that when something happens that doesn’t fit with the narrative that they cling to, there is a violent backlash.

To illustrate this a bit, take the Once Upon a Time fandom. I’ve written about the show on the blog here a bit so you know that I love this show. You should also probably know at this point that I have a bit of an addiction to reading online comments (see this vlog for the full confession). Combine these two together, you get me realizing that a show with a lot of distinct storylines and characters opens itself up for some EXTREME rivalry. Like there are people who love Regina and the Evil Queen and who ship Regina and Emma (not just as amazing friends and co-moms like they’ve become on the show but an actual romantic relationship despite there being no signs on the show of such a possibility so far). There are those who love Emma and Captain Hook together and those who think Hook is “trash.” There are those who desperately want Rumple and Belle to find a happy ending and others who think it’s an abusive relationship. Differing opinions on who should be the main focus of the show or who should end up with who is totally normal when it’s an ensemble cast. But if you hang out on Twitter or Facebook or even the Once Upon a Time Wiki long enough, you’ll find people pretty violently attacking each other for their opinions! That’s not what should be happening in a fandom! Isn’t it supposed to be a place where you can share your mutual love for a thing?

Many times it extends to the actors or writers themselves with attacks on their character or physical appearance or spreading questionable rumors about “who’s dating who” or “who hates who” among the cast. A few good examples here come from the Pretty Little Liars fandom (which as a whole I think is actually less toxic than many of the other shows I love, but I suspect it’s because fans have been kept in the dark so much about what’s actually going on). When Sasha Pieterse who plays Allison, the notorious “dead girl” on which the show was based around, ended up not being dead and became a regular on the show, fans attacked her weight viciously, wondering if she was pregnant when in fact, she’d simply grown up (she’d filmed the pilot episode when she was only 13, the youngest of the all the “Liars”), filled out, and discovered she had a hormone imbalance. Similarly, fans speculate on riffs happening between the PLL actresses, claiming that because Troian Bellisario (Spencer), Ashley Benson (Hanna), and Shay Mitchell (Emily) have posted photos together that they are somehow on the outs with Lucy Hale (Aria).

It just makes me wonder, why are some fans are so obsessed with something that they take it beyond just enjoying it and celebrating in a community of like-minded individuals to the point of critiquing every aspect of the story, the creators, or the actors.  Is it because they think they could do a better job? Is it because love turns into misguided ownership? Is it because the immediacy of social media has given the impression that fans have more control over a piece of art than they really do?

Fans and fandoms, of course, have a big voice in the content they love in this digital age, but it’s still up to the creators as to how much control they actually allow fans to have. You can’t just yell about something on social media because it doesn’t fit your “vision” and expect something to change. If you really want it to be different, make fan art or fan fiction.  Create your own version to satisfy your burning passion for a thing. You’ll probably find someone else who enjoys it!

But all the outrage isn’t helping anyone. It just makes for a toxic environment in a community that’s supposed to be about shared passion.  Respectful debate is one thing. It contributes to the awesomeness of fandoms because obviously we’ll have differing opinions, but letting it devolve into hate and trolling and rumor spreading to either hurt other fans or the very people who make the thing inspiring the fandom is just a waste of the potential that fandoms have.

Communities of people who have a shared passion are incredibly powerful. Spread the love, friends! Not hate!

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What Will Happen in the World of Fall 2016 TV? // Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time, Jane the Virgin, The Mindy Project

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It’s that time of year again! We’ve waited months to find out what happens to our favorite characters. Will they make it through whatever awful trauma the writers put them through back in the spring? Will contract renewals and/or budget cuts factor into the story that we all know should happen but fear won’t? Well, I’m super excited for some of my favorite shows to be returning to their regular weekly schedule.  All my absolute favs ended with some serious drama so I’m wondering what will happen, but there are also some new shows I’ve been seeing promotions for that seem intriguing. What better way to get into the fall TV season spirit than to do a little recapping and surmising about the season to come?  Let’s do this! (But be warned, this post will contain spoilers for those of you who haven’t caught up on the latest seasons. Pin it for later, when you’re prepared!)

The Mindy Project

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I wanted to start with something light. The drama that The Mindy Project left us with wasn’t life or death, but our loveable and crazy main character was left in a sticky situation between having just slept with her ex, Danny, in an elevator and coming home to find that her potential new suitor Jody has bought her an entire apartment. Then there’s also the extra stressor of the audience (though not Mindy yet) knowing that Danny is getting married!  All in all, it’s not looking too good for anyone in this quirky love triangle.

I’m really interested in this season because 1.) I absolutely HATED Jody at the start of the season. He was such a male chauvinist stereotype. But slowly…somehow he became my favorite character. I had always been a Mindy and Danny shipper until the first half of this latest season on Hulu. I understood Danny’s Catholic quirks and his aversion to marriage after a failed first marriage and a rough childhood after being abandoned by his father. But once Baby Leo was born, his prejudices and assumptions started revealing themselves and I stopped feeling like he was right for our wildly independent heroine Mindy.  And Jody continued to surprise me throughout the season with his investment in Mindy’s fertility practice and later his friendship with her despite having vastly different personalities. So while I know Mindy will weather whatever relationship storm started brewing at the conclusion of last season with her characteristic optimism and craziness, I feel like this light-hearted show has raised some serious questions about women and our relationships with men and their ingrained ideas of masculinity and femininity.

Once Upon a Time

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I am the biggest Captain Swan shipper, and while I have my issues with last season’s Dark Swan and Underworld arcs (or at least their executions, I felt like the ideas were wonderful but maybe misused a bit), I’m so happy that Hook and Emma are finally both back to their old selves and no longer in imminent peril (for the moment).  For season 6, all the previews have been hinting at getting back to more of their season one style with new characters (Aladdin and Jasmine, etc) and flashbacks. My hope is that rather than the one-off episodes they’ve been doing with new characters recently (e.g. Hercules and Meg? That was such a waste of amazing characters!), we’ll start to integrate some new characters into the story and have their past/stories actually influence the plot of the season rather than serve as a vehicle for the plot of individual episodes. Aladdin being a previous savior is a really interesting concept, and I like the idea of delving more into the savior mythology. (At this point, we know a fair amount about the Dark One mythology but not its opposite, the Savior).  Also, I’d really like to see a struggle for Emma where she isn’t either debilitated (like when she first became a Dark One or when she was first understanding her powers in the Frozen arc) or too headstrong to listen to anyone (like the Neverland arc).  I want to get back to the Detective Emma of season one.  I love her loyalty and her passion, but I’m also tired of seeing her wear herself down trying to save EVERYBODY. I hope that the failed Savior history of Aladdin will help Emma realize she can’t save everybody. That it’s not her job.  She can certainly try to do good in her community and help people when she can, but not to the detriment of her health or the safety of her family and friends.

Plus I want a Captain Swan wedding. I feel like they were hinting at that in the season finale with the Emma and Hook’s reunion kiss in front of bridal shop.  Although I do keep wondering about the feasibility of that hook as their romance progresses. I feel like sharp objects are not something you want to keep in your marriage bed.

There’s also the Regina/Evil Queen storyline which is exciting in it’s own right.  We can now get back to the awesome EVIL-ness of the Evil Queen without losing all of Regina’s character development. While I am still miffed about Robin being killed off (but honestly, he was just arm-candy at this point, another misuse of an amazing character), I want Regina to continue her journey of redemption to prove 1.) She doesn’t need a man/True Love to be happy/successful and 2.) She can overcome her demons.  But I’ll definitely enjoy all the destruction that the Evil Queen is going to cause in the meantime.  We need a truly evil and challenging villain for a change.

Jane the Virgin

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Is Michael alive?!?!?!  Man, Jane the Virgin is amazing at leaving a season with an extreme WTF moment.  Mateo’s kidnapping in Season 1 and now Michael being shot in season 2.  I will say that I’ve been a Rafael shipper since the beginning, but I fully supported Jane and Michael’s marriage and love for each other. I feel like Michael really “manned up” in the second season and decided that he loved Jane no matter what. In season 1, I had felt they weren’t a good match because he wasn’t ready for a child, or rather, he wasn’t interested in raising a child that wasn’t actually his and certainly not co-parenting with someone who your fiance/wife has obvious chemistry with.  But seeing Michael with Mateo this season really melted my heart. Whatever his original misgivings about the situation, you can tell that Mateo is just as much Michael’s child as he is Jane’s and Rafael’s. So even though I feel like a Jane and Rafael pairing would be wonderful, right now, Michael + Jane is obvious.

The previews seem to suggest that he didn’t die on site (which is good!) but there’s still the fear that he will die later. What if he’s stuck in a coma? What if he doesn’t wake up? What if he wakes up but has memory loss or has a completely different personality? (This is in the vein of a telenovela, you know).  Plus I just love Brett Dier (the actor who plays Michael) and I would hate the idea of him not gracing my screen every Monday night!

Then there are the other problems we were left with at the end of season 2: Petra is trapped in the hospital with a debilitating “disease” caused by her evil twin who’s now taking over her life and Xiomara has found out she’s pregnant with SOMEONE’S baby (Rogelio? Esteban?) While the question of Michael’s fate is the most pressing issue on my mind as the new season begins, I feel like Petra and Xiomara’s predicaments are far more interesting in terms of where the season will go and what impacts they’ll have on all the characters.

The Vampire Diaries

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And finally The Vampire Diaries with it’s heartbreaking final season.  We left season 7 with a return to the norm in a way (only really the core characters remain alive, Bonnie isn’t in anymore imminent danger, and the Huntress is gone for good), but with the empty space that Damon and Enzo left after having been consumed by the Evil Vault Monster in the Armory.  On the one hand, we know they’re not gone for good so no deaths to mourn.  But on the other hand, we know that we seem to be facing the ultimate Big Bad as Damon and Enzo (bad boys in their own right) have become minions of Evil Herself.  There’s not much we know about this upcoming season. It’s mostly just rumors flying about Nina Dobrev reprising her role for the finale and fears about whether they’ll really be able to bring Damon back from this final dark turn.

In terms of things I’d like to see, if Nina Dobrev is coming back, I’d really like to see Katherine Pierce be somehow connected to the Evil Vault Monster.  She was sucked off into darkness instead of crossing over to the Other Side so her character still has potential to return.  However, I would NOT be satisfied if Nina’s return only came in the form of Katherine and not with at least one happy-cry worthy Delena scene to end the show with.  I’d also like to see Matt have a happy ending. He got SO CLOSE last season, but then it all got stripped away and he turned kind of bad which I wasn’t a fan of.  The one thing about Matt Donovan–the resident human of the gang–is that he’s inherently good. He’s always changing sides to try to help as many of his friends as possible. It’s made him do some questionable things, and you can tell that weighs on him heavily, but he’s the most loyal character I’ve ever seen.  And then there’s the hinted BIG DEATH that will happen mid-season, and I’m scared for that. We’re down to so few characters, and I don’t think I could handle parting with any of them.  For someone in this very small crew to die would feel like such a waste when the series is almost over!  They almost made it through!  I’m not even taking bets on who it will be. Imagining it being any of them breaks my heart.
So there are my favorite fall shows and what I’m feeling/hoping/fearing!  I felt like there were some really intense season endings in the spring so I’ve been anticipating this season renewal for a while!  What are your favorite shows and what are you excited for when they come back on this fall? Tell me in the comments! While I honestly don’t need any more shows to watch, I’d love to know your hopes and fears for your favorite shows!

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An Open Letter to the Captain Hook Haters

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Season 5 on Once Upon a Time has been an interesting one. Rather than exploring new characters or settings in a way that drives the story forward, Camelot and the Underworld were somewhat relegated to backdrops for the drama of the core Once characters to unfold. In Season 5A, we went to Camelot where Emma battled becoming the Dark One. In Season 5B, we traveled to the Underworld to save Hook and attempt to reconcile the consequences of 5A. After this week’s episode “Firebird” and with only 2 episodes remaining, we’re left wondering if everything in Season 5 has been for naught as Captain Hook was left in the Underworld by the end of the episode.

This surprising development is either devastating for Captain Swan shippers or a moment of glee for the Hook haters. While there are two episodes left in the season and I doubt the writers of Once would permanently kill off a character that creates so much passion in its fans (whether from love or hate), I want to address some of the problems that I’ve had with Season 5 which despite the fact that I’m absolutely a Captain Swan shipper, I actually lay the blame on Hook for.

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First, let’s look at the Dark Swan arc. While it was extremely compelling of a reason for us to believe Emma’s full descent into the Darkness came from not being able to let Hook go and making him a Dark One too, I found both of Hook’s Dark One transformations to be very bland. In Camelot, when he first became the Dark One, he mostly just seemed angry that Emma wouldn’t let him die, but it didn’t feel particularly “Dark.” In truth, Hook has never really been a dark character. He’s definitely been painted as a villain in various flashbacks, but not in the same manipulative and heart-wrenching way that Rumplestiltskin has been. No, Hook has always been the more human villain. He’s been motivated by greed or weakness or revenge, but he’s always just been a man looking out for his own skin first and foremost. Which in the world of Once Upon a Time, if you’re not self-sacrificing, it’s hard to be classified as a hero. (But then…these are fairytales we’re drawing from.) So because Hook has always been such a human villain, it felt forced for him to immediately succumb to the very supernaturally characterized Darkness which apparently feed his anger toward Emma. But then even though he’s supposed to be consumed by Darkness, Emma’s able to wipe his memory which somehow stops the Darkness (?) until Zelena returns his memory and he falls right back into that weird Dark One persona. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense. How can having your memory wiped stop you from being THE DARK ONE? That seems counterintuitive, at least in terms of Once lore.

And of course, right at the last minute, Hook decides to fight the Darkness and sacrifice himself to save everyone. While I found that scene very compelling and redeeming for a character that’s always been very selfish and placed in the “villain” category, the motivation didn’t make any sense. I would have liked to see that ending with a much more compelling storyline as to what transformed Hook into the Dark One. Not just “Hey, I’m pissed at my girlfriend for trying to save my life but in the process making me something I hate.” I mean, you get over it. She saved your life.

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So that’s Season 5A which as a Captain Swan shipper started out really amazing with Hook fighting for Emma like a true hero, but then took a dive into “I don’t know what’s motivating the characters anymore.” Season 5B is a direct result of what happened in 5A where once again Emma just can’t let go and brings her family to the Underworld to try to save Hook. Killian almost takes a back seat this half of the season as if the writers are apologizing for the out-of-character chaos they put him through. He does have his shining moments—like having Father/Boyfriend bonding time with David by using his enchanted hook to replace Snow’s name on a headstone—but overall he was either still angry at Emma (which REALLY?) or placed on a backburner as a the doting boyfriend.

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So while I’m a passionate Captain Swan shipper I do understand the Hook Haters, but I feel like the problems stem from the misuse of his character by the writers in trying to force certain storylines (and torture Emma apparently) rather than Killian being a bad character all together. He’s got a lot of potential as the most realistically redeemable male character on the show, but I feel like he gets pushed into certain boxes each season/arc that don’t fully utilize his history. Like the writers are still testing whether he’s a good fit for the show. And I feel like when there was the best opportunity for exploring both the good and evil and sides of his character (i.e. the Dark Swan arc), they either wrote themselves into a corner or ran out of time and forced him into a confusing caricature of himself. Hook deserves better! Captain Swan shippers deserve better! But really fans of the show deserve to have fully developed storylines that take the time they need play out rather than forcing huge character developments in a few episodes in order to fit a show’s well-established formula.

Poor Hook being consumed by the Darkness that is Hollywood greed as his character gets destroyed.

Poor Hook being consumed by the Darkness that is Hollywood greed as his character gets destroyed.

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One Year of Novel Writing: Month 12, Chapter 12

Novel Writing 12 - 1 Twelve months, twelve chapters, and I DID IT! I wrote every month! I finished all twelve chapters! I came out of 2014 with twelve more chapters in my book than I had in 2013 or the years previous, and that is an incredibly great feeling to have. I’m really proud of myself for making a goal like this and keeping to it for a whole year. Looking back it doesn’t seem like all that long or all that grand of a task, but I know when I started it back in January 2014, it looked like a mammoth undertaking. But now I know that it’s completely something I’m capable of.

And that’s why in 2015, I want to go a step further. I don’t want to just write one chapter a month. Even though that task was difficult to complete, I still feel like pushing myself for a slightly harder goal in 2015 will be beneficial. Now, I haven’t decided to do anything crazy like a goal of “Write Every Single Day for the Whole Year.” (Tried that for a month, and as we all know, it made me less likely to write.) I actually want to give myself a little more freedom while also giving myself a deadline. For now, I won’t have monthly deadlines of one chapter per month anymore. But I have deadline for December 31st to complete the (very!) rough first draft of the entire book! This is actually an even better goal for me than 2014’s novel writing goal because finishing this book—this story I’ve been so enthralled with since I was 13—has seemed like a dream to me for pretty much my whole life, but this year I’m really going to work to make it reality.Novel Writing 12 - 2Last year built up my confidence and let me know what works and doesn’t work for me while writing. I got to try different styles and take my time exploring characters and plot development without the pressure of “FINISH THE ENTIRE BOOK OR YOU’RE A FAILURE” running through my head. Basically, I got a head start under the premise of an “experiment,” and now that I’ve written 12 chapters and KNOW I can write this novel, the idea of finishing the whole novel seems less daunting.

Now, I may write all these encouraging things and tell myself “You can do it!” and then FAIL miserably. Maybe it won’t be enough structure. Or maybe I’ll be busier this year and just won’t have the same time to commit to writing as I did in 2014. Or maybe I will be able to continue writing a chapter a month but actually completing the novel would take more writing than that. It’s all quite possible. I hope I do complete my goal just like I completed last years. But come on, 2014’s novel writing goal wasn’t completed without quite a bit of strife and feelings of failure. I imagine if you talked to any writer (or artist), successful or not, you’d find that they feel like a failure a lot of the time. I think, perhaps, that’s a sign of a good artist. Because we’re overly critical of our work. But you can’t be so critical that you cripple yourself from creating. At some point, you do have to let go and just CREATE—go with your inner creative vibe. Good things will be made. Bad things will be made. But SOMETHING will be made.

And that’s how this novel writing journey works for me. I can already think of changes in the story and characters and additions I’d like to make to what I’ve already written. This year, I may take some time to go back and change a few things (major plot points only, I expect. I’d rather save the little bothersome things for the first edit), but I know it’s important to just WRITE. I want to bring this story in all its fullness to the light of day in 2015. And I hope you’ll join me on that journey.

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Love Ruins Your Life

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In watching the latest episode of Once Upon a Time (episode 407 “The Snow Queen”), I heard a quote that resonated with me. Will Scarlett, originally part of the Merry Men says in response to Robin Hood’s question about his heart-wrenching efforts for his True Love being worth it, “Mate, if you find someone you love enough to ruin your entire life for, it’s always worth it.”

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I don’t think we usually consider “falling in love” to be “ruining our lives.” It seems silly doesn’t it? Love is supposed to be beautiful and wonderful and happily ever after? (Okay, maybe not “happily ever after” all the time.) But actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a television show speak such truth before.

On the one hand, if you’ve ruined your life for a person, it BETTER be worth it. But on the other, do we ever really think about how we “ruin our lives” in pursuing our dreams of love? What about the guy who chooses to go to his hometown college so he’ll be near his rising senior girlfriend rather than attending the out-of-state university he’s been dreaming of since childhood? Or the post-grad who gives up her job, friends, and family to move across the country and live with her fiancé who decides after only a few months they’ve grown apart and breaks up with her? Or what about when you pledge your love and life to someone but you’ve barely been married and they die—stage 4 diagnosis, car crash, freak accident, doesn’t matter because they’re gone?

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But what I think this quote really talks about, and what resonates with me the most is the idea that you chose to ruin your life. You don’t necessarily think of it as ruining your life, but you know you are significantly changing the life you had or wanted or worked for. That’s what real love is, I think. That what makes and break marriages. What builds people up and tears them down. What makes us question our choices. What makes brides or grooms get cold feet at the altar.

Love is a scary emotion.

But is it worth it like Will Scarlett says? The romantic in me says, YES! The cynic in me asks, “Has all the world gone crazy?”

Maybe it has. Maybe it’s worth it. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it doesn’t matter as long as you accept your choices in life and move on?

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Finding My “Drive” to Write: Novel Writing Month 10, Chapter 10

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Month ten!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!

I didn’t finish.

I know! Tragedy! Disaster! Horror! Failure! But by the time I wrote this blog I had finished. It took me two extras days of writing, but it is done! And I think it turned out to be a pretty decent chapter.

I’m still kind of stuck in this weird storyline limbo where there isn’t a lot of action, but there are still things that need to happen and thus writing that needs to be done, and it’s my job to figure out how to accomplish that feat! For this particular chapter I decided to play around a little more with form, which made the writing interesting for me and broke up the monotony of the “this-then-that” chapters I’ve been writing so far.

One of my favorite TV shows is ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” which has a really unique and beautiful means of story telling. Each episode holds two stories—one in the present day “real” world and one in the past Enchanted Forest. These two stories usually interact, intertwine, and reveal things about the other to the viewer as it plays out. It also makes for some creative transitions between past and present and a look at how one’s past can (and can’t) predict one’s future. And in Chapter Ten, I wanted to try something similar.

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Actually, it was more of an accident. I realized that I had started the chapter later than when some of the information I needed to give would have happened. My initial intention had been to do one longer flashback to establish all the information, but after one scene in the past, I found myself naturally wanting to transition back to the present time.

But I wasn’t done! What would I do?

Well I continued on in the present day for a little bit longer before finding another place to transition back into the past. And this pattern continued as I wrote the chapter. I kept finding places that connected between what I was trying to convey in the present storyline and key points I made in the past storyline. In the end, I think I made a chapter of delicately woven stories and timelines.

Now, I will say that eventually I had to give up on whether or not I was using the correct grammatical tense (I got lost pretty quickly there since both are written in the past tense but one has to be more past than the other which doesn’t make any sense.) However, I decided I would worry about the tenses and grammar later. What was important now was the writing. The getting down my ideas down onto paper (or digital files at least) needed to take precedence.

And once I knew where I was going with the story (both the form and the plot), I didn’t mind so much that I would be a few days late finishing the chapter. I don’t consider it a failure because it’s still done and I have pretty much all of November to write Chapter Eleven so no harm done here!

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I think this month taught me about drive. For a little while, mid-month, I lost the drive to write. I hadn’t quite decided yet how I was going to structure the chapter ,and I was wondering whether I would need to rewrite everything or if I should just keep going even though this “back-and-forth-present-to-past” thing looked like it might get complicated. So for a week and half I just didn’t write. I kept putting it on my daily “To-Do” list, but I would always put it off because I didn’t know where to go with it. But once I took a second look and decided—really DECIDED—where I wanted this chapter to go, I got my drive back and I finished the chapter. Later than I wanted, yes. But if I hadn’t had the drive, I could have convinced myself to make Chapter Ten a two-month long writing journey which was NOT my original goal. I don’t want to make consolations like that (although I did seriously consider it around October 29th or so). I want to write a chapter a month. It’s not that hard, and I know I can do it because I’ve been doing it for over nine months now! I just have to say “YES! YES YOU CAN!” to the inevitable questions and feelings of failure. I have to put my writing car into “Drive,” put my foot to the petal, and GO! No looking back. No second-guessing. No wondering if I should stop for gas. I know the tank’s almost empty, but I have enough to get to my destination. I just know it.

So I keep on driving!

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Is Writing Every Day Beneficial? (Novel Writing: Month 8, Chapter 8)

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Well, writing chapter eight for my novel didn’t exactly go as planned. Or even as hoped. Although again I did finish! (Hallelujah!) It’s just that I’m finding it hard to devote as much time as I want to writing. I imagine this is the problem that most amateur writers have. Writing takes creativity. And creativity takes time and energy and freedom to experiment. You can’t just show up at your computer and expect Walt Whitman to flow out of your brain. (I mean, it could, but that would be plagiarism.)

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Experimenting is so critical to good writing. I know I’ve said that I want this novel writing project to be about learning and creating a lot of “word vomit,” mostly because I haven’t written a large volume or regularly for a long time. But I also need this experience to be an artistically enlightening. I want to know if this is still a story I’m passionate about and whether I should continue to pursue it. Do I want to write a full novel or series on the world of Kamerell? Does it have the potential to be an exciting story that other people would actually find interesting enough to read? Is it a story that demands to be told?

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Is there a “confused” or “I don’t know what’s happening” button on my keyboard?

            So I did the majority of this month’s writing in the last two weeks of August, and I feel like it was a bit rushed. I still covered everything on my plot point list, but I think if I’d had more time I could have fleshed out some of the details. It’s frustrating for me to only get to go half-in. And I know it’s my fault because I’m not allocating enough time to writing; however, I don’t want to get discouraged. I have to look at each month as a new journey and not dwell on the failings of the previous month. I think the best thing for me is writing a little bit each day. On the days that I feel more inspired I tend to write more, but when I let myself relax and say “Oh I’ll just write extra tomorrow,” it always ends in tears and two weeks of an ignored story. That’s just not going to be acceptable in September! So the goal for this month beyond just finishing the chapter is to write a little bit everyday. To create a habit where I don’t feel comfortable if I’m NOT writing. It will be another change and tentative step, but I think it will be incredibly beneficial for my writing process.

So…onward to September and writing every day! Hooray!

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