Well, maybe not really a youngster considering my current age. Let’s jump back to 2001, to Clearfield, Utah. North Davis Jr. High School before the district decided it wanted to tear down a building that had been standing since the early fifties.
I’m thirteen, maybe fourteen, wiggling in my desk, knowing in the back of my mind I should have used a pen rather than a pencil, tongue poking out from between my teeth in my algebra class hurriedly scribbling in a heavy notebook, frantically scratching at the paper before the bell rang and I have to pay attention to whatever formula my teacher wants us to learn for the day.
Scribble scribble. Scrat scrat.
I did it! I finished a two-hundred something page (notebook page mind you) book! For the life of me I can’t remember what it was called, nor do I have the notebook handy to re-read what I had written all those years ago, but I remember it being awesome.
Or, you know. It was awesome in my head. If a later ‘book’ has anything to tell me, it’s that ‘awesome’ does not necessarily mean the story makes sense.
I also know now that it would be called a fanfiction considering the book that had inspired mine and the fact that my friends and I starred in it.
Nonetheless, I had written a book! A *real* book! Maybe one day I could get it published! But that’s neither here nor there, what’s important is starting on the second one.
Which I did. Right then and there, completely ignoring my math teacher, whilst pretending to take notes on whatever it was that he was teaching.
I don’t believe I ever finished the story. Maybe I did. I’d have to do some serious digging in the Ohio storage unit to see if anything survived from my Jr. High days.
Looking at where I am now compared to what I was then, I have to admit to missing those days. Sometimes. Back then I didn’t have to worry about understanding any of the particulars of a book. All I wanted to do was write. And what I wrote seemed to go over really well with my friends. Collectively named ‘The Corner Crowd’ because of where we sat and who we were. At that time we all were part of our own universe, stars of our own shows, and a few of those we watched.
It was fun. I didn’t care. I was in love with Duo Maxwell, (the one with the red shirt in the picture) and could write Relena the hell out of the show without breaking Heero Yui’s heart. Mostly because my friend at the time was there to comfort him through the heartbreak.
My god it was fun.
I could go on writing not worried about things like character development and story arcs or plot holes.
I was thirteen and I didn’t give a damn.
Not that I’m nostalgic for the old days, let me be clear on that. I was a horribly awkward kid growing up. Too tall with the arms and the persistent baby fat and ridiculously short hair. No thank you. I do, however, miss the abandon with which I would take pen to paper and write whatever came to mind at the time.
Now that I’m older and writing for serious, it’s a head trip to think about all the things an author needs to think about just to write a book.
It’s a lot.
And I mean that with all the seriousness I can possibly muster. I never understood how much goes into writing a book until I endeavoured to do so and then tried to condense said book to explain to someone else without so much as an ‘uh’ or a ‘oh, wait but this has been going on the whole time’ and a ‘wait, I have to think’, or the worst ‘um’.
I have a podcast coming up, ladies and gentlemen, and I am terrified. And a little lost. Explaining BOTQ has become a wee bit complex. Mostly because the story itself has become a wee bit complex. It was never supposed to be. It *was* a straight shot through the labyrinth, I had everything mapped out! But, somehow, it’s gotten all tangled up and confusing. Well, that’s a lie. It’s not confusing, it’s just hard to extract enough information to convey enough of the story to receive feedback and criticism which, in turn, will allow me to better the story before sending it out to beta readers.
You know, when I actually write the silly thing.
I find myself unable to single out key scenes within the story that are enough to convey the plot in its entirety. I think, in part because the story is very much about the characters influences and their actions against each other which spins the plot, rather than characters reacting to the plot and the story that comes from it. This thing happens which makes this thing happen which in turn makes this thing happen, the only thing I have that is an outside influence is a package sent to Melanie, prompting her trip to Chicago. Everything else is character dependent. And there are a good amount of characters and a good amount of influencing going on.
Picking and pinpointing is harder than I thought it would ever be.
The book in its first draft-and not even halfway through said draft-is making things more difficult.
I suppose one thing in my favour are the problems I’m having.
I’m torn between two characters and their plight. Do I keep one as I intended in the original outline or do I kill him off earlier and explore the second character?
Another problem I’m running into is Bertrand Lautrec and George Reddington. There’s a little voice in my head telling me to have George stay at a sanitorium for a little while because of what Bertrand makes him think he is. The question is how? How do I weave that particular plot line, moreover; how do I explain it?
Then again there’s the problem of Melanie. Originally her purpose was to unmask the Quarter Killer and that would be the end of it. Now, with the new development (brought on by a song, no less!) it seems that that particular plot line is being handed off to another character of mine so Melanie can focus on something else. Never mind that it all ties together by the end; how do I bloody explain THAT?
Sometimes I miss the days where I could write and not care what came out of it. It was the journey that mattered, not the particulars.
Other days I grit my teeth and wonder why the hell I thought bleached tips on short hair were a good idea.