Friday, August 18, 2006

About Writing

Since this blog began as a chronicle of my attempts at breaking through my writers block and writing the next great American novel...or paperback on clearance at the grocery's a post about writing.

I'd been working on something for awhile that I let someone read. I HATE letting people read anything I'm working on, because I can barely stand people reading something I've finished, polished, and removed of all errors I can possibly imagine. But my sister BEGGED, so I gave in. And I got just the reaction I was dreading: "Hmm. Yeah, I'm interested to know how it turns out," she replied in a non-interested voice. OOH obviously she thought it sucked. Which, it did, because it was a rough first barely coherent thing. But I was hoping she'd see through that to the beautiful story it would become. Then another.

"I hate [main character]. She's stupid." OOH again, painful. But, of course she hated the main character. The only parts I'd written were not complementary (I like to write all over the place, not from beginning to end. She read some beginning, some middle, some end). I wanted to show a character who was tortured in part by circumstance, in part by her stupid reactions to those circumstances, but in the end create a character that you felt empathy for, could relate to despite her unattractive qualities/stupid decisions. A human being, basically. So, considering it was a rough first barely coherent thing, which did really put the character in a bad light, as I hadn't written the other parts yet, her reaction was understandable.

BUT. Still. Ouch. Who wants to hear their main character sucks? So I shelved it. Of course. I gave up. If you know me, that's really no surprise. I can't finish anything. I'm disappointed in my inability to create the kind of character that I wanted, and in myself for letting her read the unfinished thing even though I knew she shouldn't. And in myself for shelving the project just because of that. But I can't seem to go on with it. Now I hate the character too. I don't want to waste my time on something that's going to suck. BLAH.

On a completely unrelated note, do you like my new profile picture? It's Barbie! Isn't that exactly what you would expect for a feminist hippie? Yeah, I like to surprise people. I would put up a picture of myself, but there are sites like this (NOT that I'm delusional enough to think I'm popular or cool enough to end up on there, but the point is, people read and people criticize and people are mean and I would hate to be humiliated in real life), and I think that for me, it's better to just be annonymous.


At 5:05 AM, Anonymous emma said...

Just keep writing. When I started writing fiction, for the first few years I couldn't bear to read anything I'd written. But you learn from your mistakes and if you really want to write a novel, you just have to keep on trucking. Good luck.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Don't let the critics get you down. My husband reads my stuff and says things like "Oh" and "That's fine".

"FINE??!! I'll kill you, you insensitive bastard!" is usually my first response. I've learned to not let him read mystuff.


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