Saturday, August 4, 2012
My opinion on middles and a writing audience
When writing, I often find myself in the middle of stories, unsure of where to go. Then, I randomly fill up space until I can get to that coveted, planned-out last sentence. I love the beginning and the end, but dislike the middle. I go so far as to continually think of story-starters so I can have that great first line, and almost always end satisfactorially. It doesn’t always work out with lots of agonizing about the middle, but usually, it does. Therefore, I try to plan more in advance. I also try to put myself in the character’s mindset, by re-reading (though not editing) what I’ve written before for that story. I’m trying to get better, though, and Stephanie Morrill's post on writing middles of stories really helped. Here’s an excerpt from one of my stories:
She pushed through a door, which was once painted white, and led me inside. “Here you are,” she said with a grim sort of pleasure. I stood silently, gaping and wishing to never have gotten on the boat that brought me here. The interior was worse than the outside, much worse. While the exterior at least bore some semblance of normalcy, the inside was sterile, shabby, and reeked of horrible things behind closed doors. Well, it truly reeked of unpleasantness, urine, and whatever stale food had been served. I grimaced, and the woman laughed. She seemed to mock me. I bit my lip.
“Mary, this new-coming shabby waif wants a room!” I stiffened. How dare she? My husband was a high-ranking member of society, and I as his wife had certain privileges. A rough-looking nurse came. Her brows had stern lines, and she seemed to never smile. “Well, be off with ye,” she said, and walked over to me. She grabbed a firm hold of my arm and marched up the stairs, pulling me along with her. I cried out in pain, but she seemed to not notice. At the stairwell she turned and then shoved me into a room and closed the door, not looking back. I could hear her hurried footsteps on the worn floor, if you could call it that. I stared sullenly at my quarters in astonishment. There were no windows, and the place seemed a semblance of intentional punishment. It seemed a jail cell. Its walls were bare, and the furnishings were stiff. The air was bitter and stale. I wondered how many other women had sat in this laughingstock of a room, left here to wilt like a vase of old flowers. Here, your voice could never be heard. I sat on the floor, and started to cry. I had never broken down like this, but here it seemed correct, and the only thing I could do. At last I went and sat down on my bed, some of my vanity already taken from me.
It’s one of my favorites. It came to me rather late at night, and I knew I had to write it down, no matter how odd it seemed to others. That, as a matter of fact, brings me to my next topic: writing what you love. I’ve had this both ways. I’ve written stories that I didn’t particularly care for, that others really liked, and ones that I loved that nobody else liked, and I've had the happy medium of liking it and having othes like it as well. The thing is, at the end of the day, it’s your work. Sure, if my family and friends like it, that’s good, but as selfish as it sounds, I believe that you should write for yourself. If you’re not happy, why write it? I mean, you can totally edit it and make it better, as it probably has at least some potential, but if you don’t like it, nobody else will. I've disliked stories I wrote, and if the author doesn't like them, well, it might be doomed. For example, I loved, completely loved, this story that I wrote the other day. It scared me a bit, because it’s not like anything I’ve ever written before, but I was so happy with it. It is coming up with stories like that that make me want to write. It’s posted on Teenink, under the name Fearless, about the seventh one down. It’s teen realistic fiction about death. I thought about that story constantly for several days, and became amazed by it. That may sound stupid, I know, but for me, it’s true.
Other news: the NextGen Writer’s Conference went really well, and I learned a lot. I’m not doing Camp NaNo this month, as I want to go more freestyle and focus on other things. I’m going to blog every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Also, I will (attempt to) NaNo with the best of them! Thank goodness for