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July 21st, 2008


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11:08 am - Personal perspectives on writing
It's odd to watch one's perspective change in response to experience. Or maybe it's not so much a change as a realization.


The strangest thing, so far, is trying to wrap my mind around the motives for writing original stories. (Even taking a spec script of an existing show as such.) It feels unbelievably selfish. I'm writing something that other people may never see. I'm spending loads and loads of time doing this!

Writing fan fiction, as I've done for quite a while, is different. It feels like community service. I'm not separated from other fans even while I'm working alone on a story, because we all share this world, and because you will all be willing to enter my corner of it once I finish the story and put it where you can read it.

The sense of the built-in audience isn't compelling just because I know I'll get feedback.

It's the major motivation I've had for writing. What I do is worth something because it will touch people. It will speak to them, it will make them think, perhaps cause them to change or respond in some way. It will have an effect.

This kind of writing is like dropping effort into a bottomless pit.

It requires a hell of a lot more belief and intensity to manage. I've been struggling with this since I started trying to meet this deadline, and I still haven't hit the point where I'm completely okay with it.

(I miss fan fiction like you would not believe. Coming online and seeing people posting makes me feel lost and lonely and on the outside. Some great fic going up right now, and I'm still reading, and that makes me feel like I've com home--but not contributing is still painful.)

Beyond that, working on this original piece is altering what I thought I wanted out of such writing. In such a career.

I've been convinced that I want to write for television. Now, that's still true: the idea of working with a team of writers on story arcs, of creating stories for characters with backgrounds and relationships that have built up over time, has great appeal for me.

That's something I discovered by writing fic. I think it's something I am (and would be) good at.

But it's also very, very difficult. There's a limit in writing "canon." It really is about writing stories for these characters. There's not much of a chance to write what's in your own heart (unless it coincides with a story you pitch or are assigned--I'm pretty sure that Julie Hebert of Numb3rs has a personal connection with the idea of collateral emotional damage from the episodes she writes).

That hasn't bothered me until now.

I tend to say that what I love best about writing is getting to tell stories. I think that's true. But with the effort to write this procedural spec, I'm noticing a craving to do more than that.

I also tend to say that I don't think I have much to say. I don't have secrets to reveal; I don't know any Big Important Revelations About Life to pass on.

But now I'm starting to (almost against my will) believe the opposite. That I do have things to say, whether I know what they are or not. That as much fun as it might be to write for television, I might get bored with the restrictions.

If I end up writing screenplays instead, maybe that would be okay.

Maybe having the freedom to say what I have to say would be worth the solitude and uncertain finances and unlikely prospect of getting my work produced.

I'm not sure. But this seems to be the journey I'm on right now.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(11 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kalquessa
Date:July 21st, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
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See, you post about being lonely, and make me want to call you and hug you over the phone, but then I will talk for three hours and that will make you not write and that will make you miss your deadline and aaaaagh! *dies*

Ahem. Sorry.

I guess I can hug you just as well over the internets. *does so* I'm so proud of you and how hard you're working on this, and how earnestly you're taking on the challenges and changes you're dealing with right now. Everything will come together.

Also: no reason why you can't write all kinds of stories for all kinds of formats. And I'm not just saying that because I love your fic and hope there will be more at some point.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 22nd, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
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Aw! You make me feel all warm and fuzzy!

Don't worry too hard. A lot of this is just, as you say, challenges and changes. I hope to God I'm doing okay, in terms of my priorities--it's a fine line to walk, it sometimes seems.

Also: no reason why you can't write all kinds of stories for all kinds of formats.

Of course not. *g* I still have fic and some incipient original novels waiting in the wings.
[User Picture]
From:whitemartyr
Date:July 21st, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
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I've been thinking about similar things. Wondering if I should be writing features instead of wanting to write a series. Then again I am not wanting to write for existing series (except Dr. Who), but rather to create my own (how daft am I?)... but I do have lots to say. Ugh.

:P

and HUGS. I miss you and love you and am praying for you and hoping with you along the journey.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 22nd, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
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Yeah, you have a lot to say, and you already know some of it! Way ahead of me, in that sense. :-)

*hugs* Praying for you, too.
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:July 21st, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Two words: Second Sight.

Okay, four words: Second Sight, The Movie.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 22nd, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
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Yes, I know. Did I tell you that after the spec, Second Sight: The Movie is the next project on the "serious" list? *cracks knuckles* I can't wait to work on that, actually. It's starting to spin new threads and directions out in the back of my brain.

(and if you have free time, that's one I hope to still be able to bounce ideas off you for. you helped so much at the beginning, and your experience of fandom is broader than mine.)
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:July 22nd, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
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Yes, indeedy, you did tell me that was next up.

What I meant was . . . You feel you want to write for TV, but writing for other people's shows (i.e., the CSI spec) limits you. But if you create your own show, there aren't as many upfront limitations. Yes, you'd still be writing by committee, but you'd have more of a say in the development of the characters' backgrounds, in the world building.

And that, imo, is a HUGE difference between writing original work and writing fic. Yes, fic is a community. And as such, there is a built-in understanding of a lot of things--premise, (canon) backstory, heck, even character descriptions based on the actors' physical appearances. There's a shorthand; I don't have to explain that Jim is a cop and Blair is a grad student, or that Sam and Dean are brothers, or that Charlie was a child prodigy and Don gave up a lot in being his older sibling. Everyone I'm writing for already knows that.

(Of course, even within areas that are seemingly so plain, there can be a disconnect. You know how I reacted the first time I saw Dean described as blond. Or when TS fic would talk about Blair's fragile hands--I think that was the term. I just went ???????? Are we even watching the same actors? But I digress . . .)

But writing original stuff, especially in a visual medium like TV or movies, you have to work that information not only into the story, but into the dialogue or the visual cues (costuming, set, etc.). You can't depend on the written word.

And this both limits you and gives you more freedom. You might have a specific idea in mind for whom you want cast in a certain role. But that person might not be available. Or might not be interested. Or someone better might come along. (How many different actors Have I suggested for Sky?)

For example, "Drawing the Line" (you remember that thing, yes? That short story that has been gathering dust for nigh upon--golly--six years--now?), I have a very specific physical type in mind for Lindsey, but I purposely (in my mind, anyway) left things a little more open for Brenda with the intent that if it ever got as far as being turned into an indie film project, I could have all sorts of interesting interpretations of the character. Does that make sense?

But I'm sure you know all this already.

So I think it's very exciting--if very challenging and rather lonely--that you're looking at building your own worlds. Giving someone else your vision off of which to springboard.

And yes, of course I'll still bat ideas and storylines and possible character backgrounds around with you.
[User Picture]
From:snickelish
Date:July 21st, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
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First, some encouragement: I'm in awe of your ambition and your efforts for TV writing. You mention the solitude of working outside of fandom, but it seems to me that in the end, writing for TV would be practically a performance art, a very public display of your triumphs (and failures).

This isn't really comparable, but I started writing original short fiction four years ago, and in the last year or two, with online networking and an upcoming workshop and so forth, I've slowly acquired a support system of peers who are aiming for the same goals I am. I'm pretty sure it's not nearly as intimate a community as ficcers in a fandom, but it's made a huge difference for me - I don't think I'd have stuck with it this long if I hadn't had people to cheer me on and compare notes with.

So, maybe it'll be less lonely for you the farther you go. Here's hoping.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 22nd, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
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but it seems to me that in the end, writing for TV would be practically a performance art, a very public display of your triumphs (and failures).

Indeed. The key phrase there (right now) being "in the end." All the efforts and steps leading up to actually having scripts produced is the lonely bit. :-)

And I do have a writer's group. A local bunch of Christian screenwriters who are working towards similar goals; we give each other notes and cheer each other on. But it's not as immediate as fandom. And we do try to be (while being supportive) fairly ruthless in our feedback, given the standard of work that we want to be producing. (Notwithstanding my pastor's favorite comment about Hollywood: "The question is not 'why do the wicked prosper.' It's more like 'why do the stupid prosper?'" *g*)

But thank you for the encouraging comment!
[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:July 21st, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Writing fan fiction, as I've done for quite a while, is different. It feels like community service. I'm not separated from other fans even while I'm working alone on a story, because we all share this world, and because you will all be willing to enter my corner of it once I finish the story and put it where you can read it.

The sense of the built-in audience isn't compelling just because I know I'll get feedback.


Yessssss.

I was trying to explain to my brother the other day why I felt that writing reviews was a duty. But, yes, it's the community.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 22nd, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, writing fanfic is the largest way that I participate in the community of fandom. It's a give and take between us all. With iting and reading/reviewing/reccing...missing out on that stuff is like not showing up at church (or wherever) for weeks at a time.

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