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A question for fellow writers - Light One Candle

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October 25th, 2006


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11:16 am - A question for fellow writers
Hopefully, this won't sound too morbid. ;-)

Over on fanthropology several weeks back, there was a discussion about how people handle their fannish identities--stories about how people have put plans in place in the event of their death, for fellow fen to delete slash fic off of their computers or whatever.

This isn't what I'm asking about, but the discussion made me revisit an old line of thinking that I hadn't pondered in several years:

What do I want done with my stories (fic and original) in the event of my death?

Some authors want their journals, etc., burned. I'm not sure about that, but I'm also not sure I would want to risk just anyone reading them. What about fic? I'd love it if my stories lived on, in their archives, after I'm gone--but I'd need someone to keep an eye on said archives and be my proxy person, wouldn't I?

What about half-written ideas?

Part of me says, you know, it'd be easier to just say I want the hard drive wiped and all my papers burned. Words to dust just as my body returns to dust.

Another part of me thinks I should at least specify someone to look at the stuff and see if there's anything worth salvaging.

I'd love to hear the thoughts of other writers on this topic.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(40 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kalquessa
Date:October 25th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)

Kind of long and incoherent, but you said you were interested in thoughts...

(Link)
I plan to leave behind every random scrawl because I am an extrovert and so things that only I know/think/write are of little to no value to me. I actually kind of like the idea of someone reading through all my old paper journals, laughing at what a prat I was as a teen, and what a loon I was before insomnia medication. To me, writing is a way of becoming immortal, like raising children or building a bridge or doing anything else that ever-so-slightly affects the future world. I kind of dig the idea of that kind of immortality in a selfish way.

In a less selfish vein, I derived a great deal of comfort and knowledge from reading Tolkien's drafts and notes, published by his son after his death, and if my half-baked drafts of dead stories help someone out that same way, they're welcome to them.

I guess I should qualify this with the fact that I never write anything that I don't intend to have read at some point. That doesn't mean that everything I write gets read, just that when I'm writing it, I'm assuming that it's at least possible that someone might read it. If that makes sense. If I want thoughts to be completely private, I keep them in my head. Since I'm very external, the list of thoughts I keep to myself is minimal, but it does exist. Everything else gets spoken or written down, and is available for public consumption after I've kicked the bucket. I won't be around to stand awkwardly off to the side, craning to see what page they're on and asking them every time they laugh what was funny, which is all to the good.

I realize that not everyone has this policy, and a lot of people write things down that they don't want anyone else to see. I tend to think that this is sort of like asking to have your secret diary found and read, to the horror of all involved, but I realize that some people feel that they need to write these things just to get stuff out. If I had a similar practice I would write the secret diaries and then burn them ASAP because you never know when you're gonna be hit be a freak wildebeest stampede.
[User Picture]
From:kalquessa
Date:October 25th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)

Re: Kind of long and incoherent, but you said you were interested in thoughts...

(Link)
Aaand I got way off subject there and didn't realize exactly how off until I went back to read. Heh. Yeah. 'Cause you were talking about fanfic and stuff online, and I....was not, so much. Since I have no fandom writings that anyone knows about, that wouldn't be an issue for me. I'd kinda like it if Bill or somebody kept my LJ online, though, so future generations can benefit from dear sarcasm letters and random interludes of wuv should they choose to do so.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:October 25th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: Kind of long and incoherent, but you said you were interested in thoughts...

(Link)
You weren't off-topic at all! :-) Because yeah, I was partly talking about fannish writings and so forth (because a lot of my writing over the past two years has been fic), but I shall respond to your other post in detail, because I have loads of long-hand stories, story ideas, and journals that I need to figure out what to do with.

And where you are an extrovert, I am an introvert. So. :-)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:October 25th, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Kind of long and incoherent, but you said you were interested in thoughts...

(Link)
I plan to leave behind every random scrawl because I am an extrovert and so things that only I know/think/write are of little to no value to me.

Whereas I am an introvert (though not an extreme one), and there is a good deal that I think/write/know but have not spelled out for people, that has a lot of value to me personally.

Less so now than even a year or two ago, but all the same there is a lot that I do not or have not said, many things that no one has read yet.

I actually kind of like the idea of someone reading through all my old paper journals

Weirdly, so do I. I think sometimes, when I'm writing, what someone's reaction might to be thus-and-such. It amuses me. But I'm also partly an introvert in behavior because I learned quickly that just because you know something or find something interesting or funny doesn't mean that other people will. And they will judge you like *snap* if they don't. Not everyone. But a lot of people. So I tell myself many jokes in my own head; and write out a lot of things in my journal that I need to process but don't really care to dump all over someone else (again, I'm getting better about this, but still).

I guess I should qualify this with the fact that I never write anything that I don't intend to have read at some point.

I used to do this. I didn't write down thoughts that were unpleasant enough that I didn't want anyone else ever getting them in their head. However, along with learning to be more open the past couple of years, I've learned that censoring my writing in that fashion didn't do me any good. Since I actually started writing out some of the crap, some of the fears my mind tries to feed me, I've been better able to get rid of them. If they just stay in my head I go over and over them; in black and white, I can mock them or see how weak they are.

But I'm still not sure anyone else needs to see that stuff. I must ponder this.

If I had a similar practice I would write the secret diaries and then burn them ASAP because you never know when you're gonna be hit be a freak wildebeest stampede.

LOL! Half the point, for me, is to be able to look back and remind myself of how those things no longer have power in my mind, or to see how far I've come in my walk with Christ, etc. As long as I'm alive, I kind of like having them around.
[User Picture]
From:kalquessa
Date:October 25th, 2006 09:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Kind of long and incoherent, but you said you were interested in thoughts...

(Link)
in black and white, I can mock them or see how weak they are.

Half the point, for me, is to be able to look back and remind myself of how those things no longer have power in my mind, or to see how far I've come in my walk with Christ, etc.

I'm the same way, though in my case (again, huuuuge extrovert here) I have no reservations about people reading any of this after I'm gone. In some places in my old journals I've actually gone back and written things in the margins like "Um, was I on crack at this time?" or "And as it turns out, I was totally right about this, so ha!" just so that anyone reading out of context knows that a) I didn't always stay crazy, I got better, and b) Ha, I was right about something!

But yeah, word to being able to go back and see how far you've come. It is a very good thing, and (in my case at least) and excellent lesson in appreciating how easy I have it now. (I forget a lot, and whine, but I really do have a fantastic life, a fact born out my some of my teen journals.)

And I can see why not everyone would want stuff like this to be seen by others. Makes perfect sense. I don't care because I'm one step away from being an exhibitionist, but I can dig that others who are more *cough* retiring, as it were, might not like to have their worst moments figuratively on display. So I guess there's something to be said for waiting to burn stuff until after you're dead. If you're not me, which most people aren't. Heh.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:October 25th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Kind of long and incoherent, but you said you were interested in thoughts...

(Link)
In some places in my old journals I've actually gone back and written things in the margins like "Um, was I on crack at this time?" or "And as it turns out, I was totally right about this, so ha!" just so that anyone reading out of context knows that a) I didn't always stay crazy, I got better, and b) Ha, I was right about something!

LOL! I haven't ever done that--though I do sometimes say, remember such-and-such an entry? Well, here's how it stands now.

I don't care because I'm one step away from being an exhibitionist, but I can dig that others who are more *cough* retiring, as it were, might not like to have their worst moments figuratively on display.

Yeah, I'm not sure how much of it's a pride thing (not a ton, I don't think) and how much of it is just that I know perfectly well most people won't bother to try and *understand* someone else, and I prefer not to put myself at the mercy of such. Heh.

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