Writing is going well. And since it has been going so well, I didn’t want to take time to post to my blog. (Now, if I was published, I’d be independently rich, and all the time in the world to post. Right). But, I figured it was time to get some of my thoughts down in a post.

Connecting With Writers

There are a few reasons why writing has been going very well. The first of which I touched on in my previous post. That is, I’ve been networking with other writers. Even if it’s just reading their blogs, doing so has taught me some things, inspired me, helped me take this pursuit of mine a lot more seriously, and made me feel less isolated. It’s also encouraging to learn that published authors are not a separate and superior species. They have struggled, and continue to struggle, to make a living at what they love to do.

Genre and Plot

Why else have things been going well? The genesis for the story I’m working on popped into my head sometime in the mid-nineties. And since then, I have worked on it, on and off. Usually I stepped away from it because for one reason or another, I was drawn to work on one of my other stories. Also, each time I worked on it, I kept trying different plot setups, different genres, and different mediums. I have tried to write this story as a novel, comic book, tv series, and movie. I have placed it in the real world, an alternate world, and in different time frames. I have treated it as science fiction, fantasy, urban adventure, myth, magical realism, gangster fiction, and fairy tale. And I have tried it as young adult fiction.

Anyway, my most current plot setup and setting has been working pretty well. Maybe it has to do with how long the idea has been gestating, or due to getting a little better at plotting and writing.

For many years, I tried writing this story (and many others) as a screenplay. But, within the past few years, I’ve decided to write most of my stories as some form of written fiction, mostly as novels. This has helped a lot. A writing teacher of mine once told me that watching a lot of movies does not make it easy to learn how to write a screenplay. Only reading a lot of screenplays does. Now, I have read a lot of screenplays, but I’ve read a hell of a lot more books. And when I was writing screenplays, there was always the tendency to write it like a novel. For example, I would write long dialogues and exposition scenes, which work okay in novels, but not in screenplays.

When I switched to novels, it helped a lot. I wasn’t as pressured into describing scenes in as few words as possible. I could write a bit more, especially about my complex backstory/culture. Wordbuilding is tough enough, but even tougher when you have to fit it into 120 pages of only dialogue and action description. I also love being able to do stuff like write what the character is thinking. But most of all, I’m writing something I have a lot of familiarity with, since I’ve read thousands of these somethings.

I’ve also been told that selling a novel is easier than selling a screenplay. Which brings me to my next point.

Changing Intentions

I have wanted to write ever since I read Lord of the Rings in 9th grade. And I tried my hand at worldbuilding and a few beginnings to novels. Then, later in college, I did switch majors from engineering to English, in order be a writer. However, my college fiction was absolutely atrocious: very contrived, preachy, and boring. Everybody in my writing class was writing about deep subjects, like depression, drug abuse, and the struggles of living a homosexual lifestyle in a homophobic world. I was writing light little morality tales that tried to teach stuff like, “Don’t try and be what your family wants you to be. Be yourself!” So, I switched to literature and abandoned the dream.

But many years later, when I was around 30, I spied a book in Barnes & Noble titled “How to Write a Screenplay in 21 Days.” I bought it, read it, and the dream was rekindled. I spent the next 5 years or so, reading a ton of screenwriting books, and starting a bunch of screenplays. I was single then, lived in the city, and spent all my free time in coffeeshops, with a laptop, writing like mad.

My goal was simply…to win an oscar. I thought about it every day. I even put it as my startup text on my phone. And I also planned on my movies’ saving the world. I also only wanted to write stuff that could be considered art. If it was to be a movie, it had to be like Citizen Kane. If it was going to be a novel, it had to be “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Part of me did want to write what I loved, Fantasy or SciFi. But, at that time, I thought that was not very worthwhile and a little below me.

Needless to say, all that struggle kind of went nowhere. And any time I thought about quitting, I would feel this nagging guilt that I was abandoning my calling. And when the world goes to pot, it was going to be my fault.

But I still wrote once in a while. And over the years, I changed. My worldview changed. I no longer believed in things like a higher purpose. I learned to appreciate just having a roof over my head and food on my plate. I no longer have the desire to win an oscar, get rich, or save the world. I just want to tell a story, get it published somewhere, and maybe get a little spending money for it. And, I started to want to write fantasy or sci-fi more than anything else. And because of all of this, my writing got better, more interesting and inspired, and I enjoyed it more.

Well, this has gotten a lot longer than I expected. I’m going to continue with this tomorrow.