Do you know one of the hardest things for me, personally, as a writer is? Actually, it is probably linked more to my personality, and being an introvert, but it does have something to do with writing so I'll use it as a blogpost here.
One of the hardest things for me. Any guesses? No, it isn't having trouble sticking to a story and finishing it. Nor is it editing, though that is a difficult thing.
Okay, here it is: Talking to people about my stories. Not just the usual dread that comes with someone asking, "So, what's your story about?", but actually really talking about a story.
There are actually a few levels to this, so I'll go ahead and get started explaining.
For the first level, I merely wish to make a point that I deliberately don't talk about certain stories at times. When I'm writing a rough draft in particular. There are a few reasons for this... One simply being that I don't want to create expectations for the story that are going to either give away plot twists, or put unneeded pressure on me because as I'm writing, I'll be thinking, "Oh, I said that it is going to be like this, and I said this was going to happen, and I said... so I have to make sure that happens...". Of course, pressure can be good at times (I typically work best under pressure, in fact), but other times, not so much.
Second level; I truly have trouble talking about stories with people, both because I'm just clumsy at explaining things about stories in general (even ones that are not my own), and because I'm afraid it could reflect negatively on how people view me. Yes, I know. If you're reading this, and you're fairly well acquainted with me, you know that I rarely worry about what people think of me. I'll go to Wal-mart in a ninja outfit, or some other costume or weird get-up, if I feel so inclined. And I actually take enjoyment in people giving me strange looks and/or laughing at me.
But, when it comes to my stories, I do worry. I'll say it right here; in my most recent, and better, stories, the main characters have fairly major issues (mostly emotionally), and the story in general leans toward being more on the dark side. Not dark as in "There-is-no-hope-in-the-world,-and-you're-going-to-want-to-kill-yourself-after-you-read-this" kind of dark; I make a point of giving my stories happy endings, but they aren't predominately light-hearted, happy fluffy stories.
Right. The third level, and the one I'm most having trouble with today, is actually having someone I can talk about my stories with. Don't get me wrong, I have online friends who are quite helpful when it comes to stories, and I'm very grateful to have them. But sometimes, I want to talk and rant about my stories to someone who is right in front of me, in person. Someone who won't think I'm crazy when I talk about the storyline running away from me without so much as a, "May I?", or about characters refusing to listen and in fact doing the opposite of what I want them to. I've gotten very strange looks from people after stating that my characters are being annoying, and received questions of, "You created them, you can just *make* them behave!" or "Why don't you plan out your stories more before you write? Then things wouldn't get away from you so much!"
( Just for the record, the answers to those two questions are 1) Though I created the charries, that by no stretch of the imagination means that they always do what I want them to, and 2) I have tried totally mapping out a story, and the results have been a. Story withering and death, b. Forced, unnatural, and stiff sounding prose, and c. Outline being forgotten and/or completely ignored. )
And, probably most importantly, this person has to be willing to listen to my ranting/repetitive enthusing and complaining/and brainstorming. Of course, a major plus is that while they're voluntarily listening to this, they're not thinking I'm completely off my rocker because of what I write about, or how I talk about my charries and stories.
So... there is my rant. As I said, today especially I am wishing that someone I regularly see, in person, was story rant-able. It is times like these that I wish I weren't the only serious fiction writer in my house. Typically, I'm rather spiffed that I alone get the title of "Writer of the House".
Well, I feel much better now, after ranting. Points to anyone who read this whole ramble-y, complaining post. I promise such posts as these will be rare. =P