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I've been thinking about my difficulties with writing - like the fact I seem incapably of writing stories and am dire at plotting and structure. I don't write stories, I just write scenes and snippets. And I don't seem able to stop. I wish, WISH I could either finish something to my satisfaction or stop writing altogether.

What do people think about me setting up an LJ for "Scenes Without Stories" and posting all the incomplete fan-fiction from my WiP folder which are scenes - sometimes connected, sometimes not - which I seem incapable of turning into actual *stories* of any length, and posting them with a Transformative Works "licence" to allow anyone who wants/feels inspired to take and use any of these scenes if they so wish, so long as they tell me where to find the fic. I won't even ask for credit - God knows I've co-written without it before now - just so that something is done with all these bits. After all, I guess any writer would want to edit the scene for their own style - even their own ideas of the characters - but maybe I might inspire someone?

Things like my failed Pros Big Bang and the Stargate scenes and Sherlock scenes which are languishing on my hard-drive. I have neither the courage to abandom them completely via the delete function nor the skill/talent/ability to write the stories which they ought to be part of. They are not stories, they are just the donnee scenes which the Characters-in-my-Head insist have happened. Most of the time I don't even know the why or wherefore.

What do you think? Would you read - and maybe even use - such an LJ?

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
byslantedlight
Sep. 11th, 2014 12:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know just what you mean about not being able to finish anything at the moment - I haven't done for so long that it hurts... You're braver than me though, offering to put your snippets up for grabs. I hold onto the idea that I will finish them... one day. I think it's made more difficult when there are things in other parts of our lives that require our attention, even if subconsciously - do you think there's something like that which could be interfering?

I like your idea of a Scenes Without Stories lj - would you make it a community, so that anyone could post their orphaned scenes, or would it be particularly for your own? I know I sometimes find it easier to pick up a half-written idea and run with it than I do starting my own inspiration from scratch - that's why I enjoyed writing the discoveredinalj challenges, and the precursors to those, ages ago. If there are other people who feel the same way then a Scenes Without Stories lj might turn out to work really beautifully!

I suppose the only thing you (or other contributors) would need to be sure of is that they really had finished with the ideas that they put up. I'm saying that, of course, because of my block in being able to do that myself! Those half-stories swirl around my head still, and I can see how they go, and would feel very odd indeed if someone else made them go a different way instead. Even if that was the whole idea of your comm/lj! *g*

I suppose if writing was easy then everyone would be going it (*g*), but sometimes it really would be nice if it always, unfailingly was, wouldn't it..!
natsuko1978
Sep. 13th, 2014 12:34 pm (UTC)
I have not finished anything for *years*. It would be okay if I just wasn't writing - or *could* even not write - but the scenes come and the ideas come, but the stories don't. And while it seems to be okay to post a page of sketches and "unfinished" *drawings* etc, there is nothing you can do with half a story, or an assortment of scenes.

I'd quite like to find a co-writer again - I enjoy working collaboratively and being a sounding-board (and even a midwife!) for other people's ideas - but that usually requires someone knowing enough about your writing style and take on the characters to want to write with you.

I think I'd need to be careful with the "licence" - part of me thinks there should not be a bar on the original author, or multiple authors doing something with the scenes. There are two comms in my other fandoms I'm thinking of in particular: one for story "Trees" (someone posts a scene or prompt to a comm and people continue it in the comments - but there may be two or more story threads at any point in the ongoing "Tree") and this - http://mcsheplets.livejournal.com/429380.html.

I like the idea of making it a comm (partly because, having tried it - with separate blogs for fandom, writing and my personal life - maintaining more than one actual LJ doesn't work for me) - but would a comm be better as single fandom, rather than multi? But as a comm maybe it could also work with people as alpha-readers sparking ideas with and working with the original writer? Hmmm. Sometimes what you need is a collaborator who'll talk through, "Where should this go?" and scene ideas - or co-write with you in order to get over the hurdle of the block. Other times it really is a case of, "I've outlined and/or started to write this, but it isn't working for me. Is there someone out there who can see how to make it work?"

And as you say, prompts can be a great jumping off point, though I find the ones on say comment_fic too thin and open-ended - I worry that my interpretation isn't what the prompter was looking for. (Also, I tend to write *long*, even when I write short, so a day or a week isn't enough for me to get a fic, or even a ficlet, out.)

In some ways I think fan-writing is harder than original fic: not only are the characters not your creations, but everyone has their own "take" and with fandom being what it is, personally I cannot "close the door" on the other writers/market/audience, so there's always a thread of... worry. Do you know what I mean?

I think it's made more difficult when there are things in other parts of our lives that require our attention, even if subconsciously - do you think there's something like that which could be interfering? This actually made me laugh. I think I should actually write a Bio for my profile because... I don't know whether you've looked over any previous posts, but I'm disabled. I injured my spine and pelvis ten years ago and between the joint trouble and nerve damage suffer from chronic pain which has lead to chronic Depression. In spite of opiates and antidepressants (which drugs probably also have a negative effect on creativity, come to think about it), I am still not fit enough to work - I cannot have a shower or even get into the kitchen to get something to eat everyday, let alone write everyday, and the pain and depression levels are pretty variable in spite of the meds (which is why I've had to pull out of the Big Bang).

Add that my Dad has cancer, heart disease, TIAs, glaucoma and arthritis; my elder brother is having either a mid-life crisis or a breakdown and saying horrible things about Dad - which especially right now with his health is the last thing he needs.

Heh. So yeah, rather a lot of Life getting in the way - but all of it long term and unsolvable. In some ways I'm lucky to have writing - and fandom and meeting people online when I'm housebound - to escape into, but I'm starting to feel I just don't have the resources to *work* at my writing, if that makes sense? I can see what's wrong a lot of the time, but don't know how to fix it.
byslantedlight
Sep. 20th, 2014 11:55 pm (UTC)
Aha - I knew I'd meant to reply to this somewhere (that'll teach me to delete my notifications before I actually write the replies... *g*)

I'd glanced back at your lj and seen that you were disabled, but hadn't read far enough back to find out more I'm afraid. Sounds like you've had some rough stuff going on, I'm not surprised it's difficult to write! Quite apart from what your meds might be doing, of course - and I'm so sorry to hear about your dad, and then family-stuff on top of it all isn't conducive to keeping your own space in your head (which I know I need to write) either...

Of course the other thing that I get - with nowhere near as many worries to start with - is that when I think well now should at least be a time I can write, I end up feeling even more pressured to do so, which then stops me writing even more, and then I feel guilty and rubbish that I can't even do that, which feeds into... etc. etc. Sometimes the time when we think we can write turns out to be the worst time to try and write...

I worry that my interpretation isn't what the prompter was looking for.
Hmmn - that's interesting... (*she says, stroking her beard*) I don't know the comment fic comm you linked to (I'm not very multi-fandom, to put it mildly *g*) I love prompts, and that was why I set up discoveredinalj with empty_mirrors, but I've never taken them as something that someone else wants fulfilled, that I need to fit into - for me they're the exact opposite, a good prompt is tight enough to focus you, but isn't about someone else's expectations at all - it's supposed to be a prompt for your imagination, not a request for someone else's fulfillment. So maybe there's an element that comes down to why are you writing (generic "you", rather than personal-you, since we don't know each other very well! *g*)

Collaborators and sounding boards and writing-pals are what I miss too - I write best, I think, when I'm bouncing off other people (or at least I write more, which is different but also satisfying!) and it's been a while since there've been people who bounced... *g* But as you say, it's got to be the right combination of people too.

I can see what's wrong a lot of the time, but don't know how to fix it.
Which is where a beta comes in handy, perhaps..?

Jumping in on your conversation below, because it's interesting...
[A proper fic is] a change, a revelation of character through action, or a decision.
Well, I'd say that sometimes a "proper fic" is that, but that's only one kind of proper fic. It might even be the best kind of proper fic, but I can count on just a few hands the stories like that in Pros for instance, and the writers who consistently deliver that kind of writing. Not that I wouldn't love to write like that myself, but I know when I first found fandom/Pros that whilst I sometimes wanted that kind of gorgeous story, I was also happy with the many other kinds of "fic" that were out there too - plottish-stories, funny-stories, sexy stories, stories that simply gave me more of what I enjoyed, which is the characters of Bodie and Doyle together. I think fans mostly just want more of their fandom, whatever it might be, and the really really good stuff, like good writing anywhere, is extra chocolatey goodness on the cake. We'd be happy just to read more lads though, if the alternative is do without more writing in general, so... So there are different kinds of fandom writing, and unless it's really really bad, then it will generally make someone, somewhere, very happy indeed - and for me that's what writing Pros was all about, because other people's writing Pros made me very happy indeed.
natsuko1978
Sep. 23rd, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
comment_fic has quite a few Pros prompts ( draycevixen seems particularly active there: http://www.livejournal.com/search/?area=comments&journal=comment_fic&how=tm&p=1&q=Bodie ) though few fills. IMO - maybe because I even think "long" - however, few of the prompts seem to lend themselves to "comment" fic. You may feel differently! :D

I suppose I worry about what the prompter had in mind because of the fic exchanges and memes (kink and general) I've seen in other fandoms: those prompts are very much about giving the prompter a fic they really want IMO. You know?

Are you on Gchat or AIM, btw? It would be really interesting talking over writing stuff with you. (You may not think the same about me, however!) Especially if we maybe could find out whether I can be of any use to you as a sounding board or whatever. I think I've done some of my best writing - and idea-ing - on other people's fics; with one co-writer, after co-writing several fics together we were able to write a fic in first person together, piecemeal, and had to look back at our emails to remember who wrote what - not because we had the same style originally, but because we worked on the POV character so much together that our versions had the same voice (even though he was American and I, clearly, am not). But then we both moved on to different fandoms and though I wrote a few parts of her 1980s A-Team fic, I didn't care enough about the fandom.

For me, I start writing for a fandom when the characters start talking to me and headcanon and backstories take on a life of their own (for example, I know a lot about Doyle's "rich woman" - I didn't sit down and think her up, she emerged like Venus from the waves or Athena from Zeus' head.) Does that make sense? The same thing has happened for other OCs, including the main character of my neverending WiP original fantasty novel. Scenes start playing themselves out in my head and then I'm trying to write them *down* - my struggles start with the scenes I have to think *up* to link the events I know about. This also makes rewriting hard when a scene just *has* happened a certain way - I can cut scenes, and fiddle with the details, but *reimagining* them is like trying to remember a version of events which didn't happen. (Again, I wonder if this makes any sense or whether I just sound insane: voices in my head and memories of fictional events.)

I have to do *something* with all that, but finding the story... and then structuring and plotting the scenes, that's hard. So is coming back to a fic after a month-long hiatus of my back or depression being worse than usual - pain and depression and meds can make thinking and creating all-but impossible. You've said you have tinnitus, so not being able to hear yourself think is probably something you know about.

And I do worry about what people will think of my fic - not as *my* fic, but in comparison to you (did I ever bother to tell you that "These Layers of Charnel Air" is one of my favourite fics? I really should get an AO3 account, if only to leave comments and "named" kudos.), halotolerant, Callisto, RebelCat, HG, Mead, PFL, Maddalia, etc etc. Not to mention the Sebastians and O.Yardleys who seem to be no longer active. This may be a fairly small fandom but - perhaps because it is an older demographic - it is a very talented bunch. It's neither so small that *everything* will get some likes/faves/kudos, just because "Yay! Fic!", or so large - like Sherlock fandom - that any fic is bound to find *someone* who likes it. This seems a very discerning fandom.

And I am at a disadvantage as a slasher-girl: I cannot write sex. But sooner or later Bodie and Doyle refuse to be Gen (to me, anyway)!

Anyway... thank *you*. For these "talks" and your support and welcome. Really - thanks so much! :D
moonlightmead
Sep. 11th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
I have heaps of scenes without plot, too. And snippets. And exchanges which I can't even call conversations because they are two lines long.

I would certainly read such an LJ. I can't promise definitely to use it by picking up a scene and running with it. But you never know. I might.

istia did something slightly different recently. She posted all her unfinished Pros (and other) WIPs to AO3, so people could see those. I should say that even though they had titles like 'Abandoned WIP: What Child Is This?' and had 'unfinished' and 'discontinued' in the tags, she promptly got comments complaining that they were unfinished, so if you choose that route, be warned that apparently people don't read titles or tags...

I don't think it is a failed Big Bang at all. It is obviously unfinished, and you may decide not to finish it, but that doesn't mean it's a failure. You tried something ambitious in a fandom you weren't sure about. Really, I am just delighted that such an old fandom can have such a pulling power! And you are still posting episode thoughts, and it is quiet at the moment, so you are hardly not contributing.

Anyway, yes, I would read such an LJ.
natsuko1978
Sep. 13th, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC)
I don't have an AO3 account and I wouldn't get one to post unfinished fic to: I've read a couple of istia's abandoned fic and I want to know what happens and even do something *with* some of her ideas. But I have more than 20 WiPs on my hard-drive without starting more!

Well it's failed because of the time thing - and really having been working on it for 7 months, 15k should not have been impossible - but also because, at the moment, it fails as a story, because as I said in a previous post, I failed to braid the Event, Character and Relationship threads. Breaking it down, I've smashed two different stories together which should have been distinct, because I could not decide whether to tell Ray's Story or Bodie's. It either wants to be a novel, or a series, but what it isn't is a single ~20k fic.

It failed - the way a painting might fail if you overwork it or haven't done a detailed enough underdrawing - but I have learned from it. Learned about *my* Ray and Bodie (whether or not anyone else likes them or sees them that way) and learned How Not To Do It with a BB - next time I'll definitely start typing earlier and work out a more detailed summary/synopsis *before* I start getting scenes down frantically as they appear in my head.

What do you think about what byslantedlight and I were talking about - about making it a comm?

I must write some more "Ponderings" - I've not sure how many people read them, but I've had some really great discussions with you and msmoat as a result! I can't thank you enough for how welcoming and supportive you have been about me finding and falling for this fandom! You've been a star *HUGS*.
moonlightmead
Sep. 15th, 2014 10:51 am (UTC)
I must confess, 'event, character and relationship' distinctions are rather more formal and disciplined terminology than I would use about anything I write. I wonder whether you are worrying too much about how a story 'should' look? Because in the end, there is no real 'should' about it. There are theories and points of view, but since very few literary critics are going to look at what we produce, we don't need to worry about that particularly.

But at least learning what doesn't work is a helpful thing. I too have been 'working' (hmm) on mine for similar time, and despite having rather more available time, I am right up against the deadline and panicking. This year I have learnt that 'write your favourite bits and leave others for later' is not a good strategy for me, so I am trying to remind myself that this is a good lesson!

What you're describing about other people making comments sounds rather like an old letterzine, actually: 'Cold Fish and Stale Chips'. Participants sent in stalled WIPs and answered a set series of questions (don't have the zines to hand, but it was questions like 'what sorts of comments are you looking for, do you want someone to adopt it, what is the exact problem, what don't you want commenting on'). And then people wrote letters - quite long letters - suggesting possibilities or problems.

I see you are subscribed to pros_wip. If you don't want the hassle of creating/running a com, you could always try posting things there and see what happens.

And finally, dunno whether you have seen in the newsletter, but either you are sestra_prior, or there is something in the air this month: she's just posted an unfinished fic for adoption, too!

Having something to think about and respond to is hardly a chore or a hardship! I enjoy it! (You will, as I am sure I have mentioned, get more responses if you post to the comms. Another thing you might consider is posting just before the newsletter comes out, (so at the weekend) so that when people read the newsletter on Monday and follow the links, perhaps they are more likely to think 'Ooh, this is a current post, I shall reply'. Tons of people don't seem to like to comment on old posts, and on LJ, some people seem to think that 'old' is anything over about 48 hours...)
natsuko1978
Sep. 15th, 2014 03:20 pm (UTC)
I must confess, 'event, character and relationship' distinctions are rather more formal and disciplined terminology than I would use about anything I write. I wonder whether you are worrying too much about how a story 'should' look? Because in the end, there is no real 'should' about it. There are theories and points of view, but since very few literary critics are going to look at what we produce, we don't need to worry about that particularly.

LOL. I think I have an issue about this, to be honest. As I said a few posts back, the last "proper" fic I posted got only one comment - which told me I had major *major* problems with plot and structure. It was so negative I took the fic off LJ. It was a lot more "crit" than most con-crit and not very "con"... so since then I've felt acutely the twin pressures of not only who and what anything I write is up against, but how it might be judged. And also read everything I can find on plot and story structure. I *am* probably over-thinking it.

And then there's some of the negative reaction I've got to my meta and Brit-info posts in Sherlock fandom; not to what I'm saying, so much, but the simple fact that I'm posting that sort of thing at all. I've been told by a lot of people that it's a symptom of "I know more than you", critical of others and fairly, well, bitchy. (Even *offering* to Brit-pick is apparently un-good - unless people *ask* for comments I should keep my opinions to myself, no one wants them etc etc). To make such posts at all has got me some very nasty comments - to some people, if I criticise the source material, I shouldn't be in fandom. (I don't know what that says about fix-it fics, non-canon relationships and the general basis of fan-fiction, but there you go.)

I know people say write for yourself and write what *you* want to read - but if *publishing* (kind of especially self-publishing with no middle-man) it does seem that thought should be given to the market. You know? I'm just worried the whole time about *reactions*.

I'm 36 years old and I should be past all this - but honestly fandom - I don't know Pros well enough yet, but talking of the other fandoms I've been active in - can feel like being back in Sixth Form. Cliquey and a closed society (hence my gratitude for your attitude) and unwritten rules and social-punishments for breaking them etc. I've even been verbally bullied. (Maybe Pros isn't anything like this. But the burnt child dreads the fire, you know?)

I seem to have a perfect gift for putting people's backs up and getting on their wrong sides. Hence why I won't post to comms. To me my LJ is my space but comms are going into *other people's* space... and maybe asking to get rocks thrown at my head. Sorry. I don't know if this even makes sense outside my own mind.

I hope you aren't panicking too much about your BB. And "available" time or not, you've had a house move, been away and have had ongoing appointments and stresses about your health. I'm with you though on not leaving the filler and "less fun" scenes to last: I know that if I don't make myself write the scenes I'm less keen - or confident - about, I will put them off until they never get written. (Action scenes of the car-chase and battle variety especially.)

Best of luck - looking forward to reading your BB when it comes out! Let me know if I can do anything?
moonlightmead
Sep. 17th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
LOL. I think I have an issue about this, to be honest.
Well... maybe :)

You talk about the last 'proper' fic, and you posted something you didn't think was a proper fic, and I am left wondering what you mean by a proper fic. I have posted fics which arose out of twenty-minute challenges, out of desperation to get something done by a deadline and out of my happily lecherous mind making pretty pictures in my head. I'm not claiming they are Great Literature, but they are certainly fics and I have no hesitation in calling them that. Although some of them I would not claim as 'stories'. But I don't care. I liked them, so I shared them.

And when I read Pros, I don't necessarily want great literature, although I am certainly happy to read it. I want Bodie and Doyle, plausibly drawn, doing things I can accept as possible. (And my mind is fairly dirty and quite bendy, so I can accept a lot of things as possible...)

I do know people who think that Pros is a generally lovely place, and I do know people who think that Pros is - or elements of it are - cliquey and aggressive. So I can't help you there, I'm afraid! There are people who will give an absolutely honest opinion on things, and that includes when they don't like the things in question. You'll see a couple in discussions. But they are generally nice people. We just disagree on occasion!

BB: argh. I just want it *finished*, that would do. Then I can start salvage efforts! Spent far too long googling December star patterns the other day. I am determined *not* to start looking up whether it is true or false that dead bodies can't bleed. It doesn't actually matter. What matters is that someone says that and someone else reacts.

Five scenes left. Must finish two tonight, I think.
natsuko1978
Sep. 20th, 2014 01:16 am (UTC)
How's the BB now? I'm wishing you all the best for it. (BTW re: Dead Bodies - as far as I know while they don't bleed under capilliary action (stick a pin in the upper-surface of the corpse and blood won't bubble up), depending on how long they've been dead they may bleed under gravity, either where they lie (and the settling of blood in tissue from gravity also has a place in identifying whether a corpse was moved post-mortem) - and even after violent death or if the corpse has been poorly embalmed, into the body-bag or coffin (both Henry VI and Henry VIII leaked blood and fluids while their corpses were lying in state), or as with butchering - ie hanging a butchered animal head downwards with its throat cut in order to allow the blood to drain - and tissues when cut into may still contain blood, like a steak.)

Okay "proper fic". These are not "proper fics" IMO - either the comment_fic I filled with one character sitting in his room brooding on how much he's in love with another character and how impossible it is; or The rare-y Bird joke. Why? Less the structure and more the point/purpose. A writer can write 100 words of the single moment of revelation, realisation, enlightenment or epiphany and I would call it a fic because whether or not action is taken in the fic, something fundamental has changed and you can't go back. It's like the last line of Raymond Carver's "Fat": "My life is going to change. I feel it."

That's what makes a fic to me - a change, a revelation of character through action, or a decision. Even the famous, "For sale: baby shoes. Never worn." has a decision and a change implicit. (My elder brother and his wife have never parted from any of the things they bought for the baby they lost as a stillbirth: the decision to sell the baby shoes reveals something about character.)

Flip the coin; and what does the Rare-y Bird Joke *reveal* about Doyle, Bodie or their relationship? I mean, we already know they joke together. What does it add to any reading of the characters?

I know I get into a loop of overthinking - but another "you cannot struture or plot a story and don't seem able to identify the story you are telling"-type comment would stop me ever posting again, I think. I try not to make the same mistakes twice.
franciskerst
Sep. 21st, 2014 06:42 pm (UTC)
My case is worse: I start long stories, write two or three 4000 words chapters... and leave them unfinished! (usually because I have entangled myself in the plot or lost my note-book (or my flash drive with the notes in it).
natsuko1978
Sep. 23rd, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
Do you use the WiP comm at all? pros_wip It may not help with losing flashdrives and notepads - eek sounds like a nightmare to me - but maybe someone can help disentangle you and the plot?

Plots are awful things, though. :(

Or... what about a co-writing comm?
franciskerst
Sep. 23rd, 2014 08:27 pm (UTC)
I didn't know pros_wip; thanks for the tip. I'll try if I am definitely unable to finish my two wip on my own. But they are both Man from UNCLE stories, not Pros. I must first complete my current Pros story, which is a wip too but in that case, it's a slow but regular progress. I have now written (and posted to AO3) eleven chapters: only the final chapter and the epilogue are still missing (not for long I hope). Since it's a Bodie/Cowley story I could hardly have asked for a collaboration (my long-suffering beta is a MFU fan, so she doesn't mind the pairing).

I never lost texts already written, fortunately, but twice my notes about the development of the plot. I was discouraged and renounced. But years afterwards I retrieved the notebook I had used for the main story; So now I can take it again and finish it, hopefully.
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