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09 November 2007 @ 05:22 pm
20k and the eventual thingybob  

Morale: Okay.

I hit 20k! :)

These days I'm getting lazy. All I do is sit there and type in about 2000 words of crap each day, convincing myself that (it's okay! I can edit this, like, later! Right now it's important to get the words down...) it'll all be fine and (no, seriously, I bet people want to read about cross-dressing guys and flying zombies!) somehow it'll all work out.

A little while ago I mentioned a post inspired by

anghard's post and didn't really ever get round to writing it. 

Here you go, I guess.



Note: this is a fairly long and emo post. And then again I could be just stressing about nothing. You know how it goes. Procrastination is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

All things are, eventually, down to whether people like them or not. 

This is inevitable. We're put on this world for others. 

The 'like' factor is what makes being a novelist such a bum job. It makes publishing a silly and risky business, plus now with all the heavy competition it's not terribly likely that your book will even make it to the shelf, let alone sell. 

Considering all this, it's not surprising that a lot of people write and then don't publish. Because it's depressing, you know. You think of all the greats - Gaiman, Feist, Rowling, Pratchett - and you look at your poor unpublished MS, and then you think: God, I suck. How will I ever compare up next to these? 

Possibly after this you go and drink yourself to death or eat chocolate until you explode. Or you head out on the streets with a gas mask and a baseball bat and play Whack-A-Stranger. Or you put your pen down and catch the latest plane, maybe to Zululand, where they've never heard of those weird things people call books. And then you feel better. Much better.

But I digress.

Thing is, I want to publish my book. Ever since I started NaNo, I've had this eventual goal in mind. If this MS pulls through to the end, I may join NaNoPubYe and see how it goes. 

This has made me think a lot. I don't think it's very suitable for publication myself. Currently it is a load of campy crap. But after heavy editing, who knows? Maybe there do exist people in this world ready to fork out RM40.00 (that's about $10 to you) for something immature and weird. 

I may be too young to understand the connotations of this, but I believe I am a novelist. 

Okay. Wait. Before I embarrass myself with further declarations ('I'm still wearing training bras!') of any sort ('My mom says I'm actually an accidental birth!') let us define what a novelist is.

After that, feel free to call me simple-minded and long-winded. Go on. Sticks and stones done broke my bones a long time ago, jerkface.

Anyway. Here's my definition of a novelist:

!) Someone with basic writing skills and the capacity to flow from one idea to another without running into the metaphorical brick wall, who can write long and wordy things and manage to work scenes which have a weird relevance to the plot in. Somehow.

2) Perseverance. Not 'someone who perseveres.' The word
perseverance practically embodies a novelist - never gives up, never quits even though she's deep in the murky brown stuff. (Sorry, had to avoid an intermittent rhyme there.) 

Someone who just keeps on plugging away at it. Someone who's often depressed, but hey - whatcha know, she's back on her feet on the next second.

3) Someone with something to share. It can be a story or a personal ideology or a vision. Anything. The novelist pours a little, no actually quite a
lot of her soul into her work for people, and for herself. 

It's an unselfish thing. The novelist is someone who doesn't care about what people think, only that she has laid her heart out on paper. For better or for worse. 

4) Someone with a lot of brain space available that needs filling up. 

If you put it that way, then I guess I'm a novelist.

I want to finish this story and publish it because it's something I've always wanted to do.

Then again, if I'm absolutely honest with you... maybe I'm not so much of a novelist after all. I'm partially breaking part three of the definition. I confess that to me, novelling is a partly selfish action - sometimes,deep down, I know I'm doing this more for the recognition that comes with having published a novel. And if it comes to that, I know I'm breaking the rules of my own advice

I'm 14, dammit. I'm allowed to fantasize about popularity.
Also, there was this teenaged girl in my state who recently published a book. Last year, I think. She was featured briefly in the newspapers and being an idiot, I was naturally extremely jealous of her. 

I was at the 'jealous hater/fan/stalker' stage. I read through her book over and over again and pointed out all her mistakes and dissed her to anyone who would listen, trying to convince myself that she was just some jumped-up kid and I was so obviously much better than her, I mean like hello, I was the novelist of my time, I was precocious, okay... and so on. I told myself I could kick her pink little butt any time I wanted. And I was happy.

And this makes me question myself, and my motives. 

It's that 'for me or for people' debate again. 

I know that I should be doing it for myself, of course. I just can't wean myself off those visions of glory. 

When I was younger (read: one year ago) I used to act like I was being interviewed about my novel in front of the mirror, pretending that I was facing someone who was incredibly and deeply in love with the book I wrote and who ached to know about the colour of my MC's undies and what they ate for supper. And I answered them (read: me) in great detail.

Yes, I was that obnoxious. Bite me.

If it's not for the fame or the recognition, then what is it for? That's the question. 

I don't really have an answer to that. 

The best I can say is: because I'd like to let people see what I see and think what I think and live in my world, just for a little while. And that's not really the true answer. That's hidden away somewhere in my brain, but for now it's the best I can do.

NaNo works so very well for me because I'm finally getting around to writing that elusive novel. It forces me, as anghard says, to write constantly. This staves off the depression that swings round when I write sporadically. It's great.

But, like any other fabulous author (oh, I'm sorry. That should have been 'narcissistic, self-centered, egoistical twerp'. I've no idea how it slipped through my fingers), I thrive on feedback. I love to share, especially with my work - and especially if people like it. 

That's why writing on the Internet is so addictive. You strut your literary stuff and people comment about it ... don't you get that lovely high? 

And that brings us, eventually, to my main problem.

If I get this current MS published, my Sim Stories are going to be tipped quite unceremoniously down the drain. I'm using characters both from Marionette Mambo and definitely from the (not even started) RiverNapping and it seems like an awful waste of space, time and effort should I scrap these two stories. 

On the other hand, I can't update on either of those any more because finishing both those stories would mean I would be unable to publish the manuscript. And this, also, seems like a terrible waste.

I don't want to focus mainly on just one story too early, too. Scrapping the stories will force me to do this. I hate it. It makes everything far too serious, and it makes me lose concentration. 

I start thinking more about what the characters mean to me and less about who they really are, and more about what the story could mean and less about what is is ... in short, it's a lot like falling in love with your best friend. You end up idealizing something already terribly familiar, and the result is a clash of perceptive. Your head says one thing and your heart says another. 

In the end, you wind up disillusioned.

I made the mistake of doing that once. (Focusing too much on my novel, not falling in love with my best friend.) I will never, never do that again. I should get the word 'never again' tattooed back to front on my forehead so that every time I look in the mirror I'll be reminded of it.  

I don't know.

So.... to publish or not to publish?

Oh the drama of dilemma.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: snow patrol - signal fire
(Deleted comment)
skyfirebabyrivernapping on November 10th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
Thanks. :D

Yep. I plan to. Thanks for the advice.
anghard on November 9th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
Ahhh congratualtions on the 20k! That is a fantastic achievement!

And Whack-a-stranger sounds fun. Where do I sign up? Yeah, I can be such a deliquent. In Thailand, in new year, we threw water at people. Does that count?

Right on to the deep stuff.

I know how you feel. I've gone through some of that myself. When we think of the famous authors, what you don't hear is how many times they were rejected before they got published. I'm sure Gaiman, Pratchett and the rest had to go through a lot of rejection slips before they were published. Sometimes it is a case of right place, right time. Sometimes, authors write something the general public is ready for and sometimes, they don't. It's just the way the world of publishing works.

I think it's great that you want to be a novelist and I think doing nano has given you the discipline to force you to write every day, even if it's just 2000 words a day, it's still writing every day and that's a good thing. It prepares you for the life of a novelist because that's what they do - write, every day.

Now, you're young. You have plenty of time. Take it slow. You obviously want to see your book published, Jennifer Fallon says that is one of the things you need to be a novelist. If you can truly passionately want it enough to see your name in print, then you will. It'll take time though and you can't rush yourself because rushing yourself will make you frustrated. A lot. Work at your own pace while you still can, and get into a rhythm every day.

You have to also ask yourself, why do I write sim stories? Do you do it for fun? A hobby? There's no reason not to write them if you do it for fun. You always need some writing that you do 'just because'. It keeps your love for writing alive. If you're always writing something serious, it will begin to wear on you.

I won't lie to you. Publishing is a hard dog eats dog world out there. Editors can be harsh and expect to wait anywhere from 6 months to a year to hear back from them. The key is not to get dejected by this and to keep going. And rejection letters are part of that world. The good editors will point out what needs work, the bad editors will write form letters which bascially says they've not read your MS.

I always tell people, start with short stories. Write them, then send them off - it's a foot in the door, have a bit of feel of what publishing is like before you jump all the way in.

Chances are, you can do this while writing your novel as well.

Bottom line, if you really really really want to get published, then there's your answer right there. Trust me, there is a niche for every type of story out there. You just have to find the right publisher willing to take a chance on it.

Above all, never give up. Persist, persist, persist.
skyfirebabyrivernapping on November 10th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
Whack-A-Stranger is the game that the world needs! I believe it already takes place in Amsterdam, with bicycles instead of baseball bats. Apparently being on a cycle there gives you lease to vent your frustration on pedestrians. :D

Exactly, exactly. Publishing is a pretty shady world. No one really knows what goes on between writer and editor until the book's published, unless they've already been in a similar situation themselves.

And while I know that probably zillions of people who feel the way I feel, it's good to have some verbal diahhrea about what I think. Thanks for taking the trouble to read through it.

Your advice is, as always, brilliant. :) Seriously, I don't know what I'd do without you guys and your support.
goodbye_sun: harold blowsgoodbye_sun on November 10th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
Congrats on the 20k!

Well a new word for you. Emotacular. As in, “You must have been in an emotacular mood when you wrote this.”

It is certainly one of the laments of the creative life to have moments of happiness constantly swallowed up by self-doubt. You are not alone in your bubbly torment of guilt, jealousy, ego, questioning, competitiveness, anger, blame, and unexplainable need to do this. Its something that weighs in on all of us. But that’s just the territory that comes with putting so much of yourself out there on display for the masses.

So you want to be a novelist. Well to have that amount of certainty and well-developed raw talent is pretty impressive. You have time and probably the focus to make it happen. I think having any clue about what direction in life you want to go in before you are 25 is pretty impressive.

Its always worth the try to get published, once you are happy with what you have done, but I don’t think this is mutually exclusive to doing sim stories. I think you can still probably use sim stories to further develop this world you are creating, just obviously distinct stories from what is in the MS. It’s a convenient way to give you the distance you need from an MS to do an edit later, while keeping in touch with your characters and the world they live in and also testing out your writing on the public and getting the feedback you want.
skyfirebaby: heerivernapping on November 10th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
'Emotacular.' I love that word. hahaha. If only I knew what it meant. :P

Writing a novel is a bit like being a blind stripper. You know you've got the goods, but you can't really judge the quantity and / or the public response to it before you put it all on show. That's why feedback is so important.

Yep. Sim stories have helped me awesomely in imagery and just putting myself there in the character's shoes. I never was able to do that before. The trouble is, I tend to weave my stories together in such a way that it either happens or it doesn't. The ending is always the same. Know what I mean? :\

And... oh yes. I forgot to mention this. Since you're the only Marionette Mambo reader I know, I've got to tell you that it's probably going to be scrapped quite soon.