April 20th, 2011
|10:44 pm - Random thought|
You know what? I never thought of myself as someone who needed or wanted an audience.
But I am slowly realizing that I really, really am.
Current Mood: curious
I have come to a similar conclusion, with the caveat that the audience only needs to be one person big, if that one person is going to read and appreciate one's work.
Just think: how many children's novels were written for the author's children/grandchildren/nieflings? Quite a few.
I don't think I have that caveat.
I've always known that I liked people to read my stuff (yay fanfic), but I had no idea how much--I always considered my stuff kind of odd, off-beat, non-mainstream, stuff very few people would bother to be interested in. Because so few people are interested in what I have to say in RL.
But I desperately want them to be, no matter how many years I spent pretending I didn't care.
I don't mean an anonymous audience of one; if there's only one, I think it has to be someone I wrote the story for specifically. In that case, the story is a gift to that person, and if they like it, it doesn't matter to me whether or not anyone else likes it; if they like it, it's a bonus.
When it isn't a gift-story, it's a bit harder to calculate, but even so, an audience of one is infinitely more than an audience of zero. An audience of zero is shouting alone in the dark; it's very disheartening.
I admit there are times when I am discontent and jealous of fanfic authors who have thousands of reviews on a story, while I couldn't hope to ever have that many. Yet I am also wary of that kind of measurement of "success", because it doesn't have an upper bound. How much is "enough"? A hundred? A thousand? Two thousand? More than everyone else? A publishing contract? A best-seller? It never ends. There is no contentment in it.
Many years ago, I tried to figure out what it would take for a (birthday) party to be a "success". Lots of people? Or something else? I came to the conclusion that in order to deem a gathering a success, there had to be at least five people, and they had to have fun. That was all.
So I guess I try to think of fanfic as "five people having fun".
If I was writing only for the egoboo, I'm not sure I'd have written as much as I have. It's both-and, though. I have my own ideas I want to write, and I don't want to pander to the audience, but I know that one of the factors that influences what project I work on next is how likely I think the story will have an appreciative audience. And that audience isn't measured only by numbers. Someone who gives a long and thoughtful review is going to warm my heart more than a one-liner asking me to "update soon". That isn't to say that those one-liners don't count, but the deeper reviews count more.
All that being said, to a certain degree, my personal satisfaction with a story has a factor which is independent of the audience. If I feel a story has flaws, all the egoboo in the world won't be able to make me forget them.
Of course, in professional writing the situation is different, because while the audience is much larger, I get the impression that one is much less likely to get personal feedback from that audience. I really don't know how one would measure "success" or "satisfaction" in that case.
That is so, so far beyond where I've gone thinking about this, yet.
I mean, all of what you say here are things I have thought about during my time in fandom. I don't write for the egoboost either, since if I get 5 comments on any of my stories, that's kind of A Lot for me. :) I write stories as analysis, as creativity--I write fic, especially, as meta, as my entry into the community engagement with the source.
And I write a lot that no one ever sees, especially real life journaling and so on.
But I'm realizing that I'm not built to be a quiet thinker. I used to assume that about myself. But I feel more alive when I am expressing my deepest self to people--the moments when anger and knowledge intersect and I become devastatingly eloquent; when I am the expert in the room; when I bring up the perspective no one considered before; when I am the voice that needs to be heard.
This is new to me--that this should be such a big part of myself, and the idea that it might be a gift of God. I am pondering it.
It may be that I am more of a "quiet thinker" than you. Well, a mix. I know I do sit down and Introspect and mull over things, and often enough, the reward to myself is the understanding that I get at the end of it. But I also do well when bouncing ideas off other people, "thinking aloud".
But as the comment said below, communication. Language is communication. Shouting alone in the dark is pointless, there must be someone to listen. And, indeed, one must have one's audience in mind before one starts to speak.
I remember reading an SF novel where we had some Terrans interacting with another culture, and the Terrans were shocked when Our Heroine said that she would say different things depending on who she was talking to, and she was shocked that they wouldn't. The Terrans interpreted what she said as her declaring that she would tell lies (even if only lies of omission), while what she really meant was that she needed to craft her words for her audience, because different people would be interested in different details; if she were talking to her peers, she might say how sexy that guy was (for example) while she wouldn't mention that detail to an audience of children.
I think the novel was "The Cards of Grief" by Jane Yolen, but I could be misremembering.
This is new to me--that this should be such a big part of myself, and the idea that it might be a gift of God.
I want you to become a scriptwriter. I do, I do, I do. Because I think you're both called and gifted in that area; your fannish background I think gives you the ability to write well for television, to give voices to characters that others have created first. And you also have the ability to give an unconciously Godly perspective; to respect the background in which the story appears, while still raising challenging and thoughtful questions. I'm jumping up and down with impatience for you to get such a job, I want God to get his finger out! (I'm not a patient person, really)
That novel sounds well worth reading.
I'm in an odd place right now--I learned to tailor my communication a long time ago, but now I'm learning when *not* to. Or perhaps, rather, how to dial that tendency back so that it's less about the audience and more my what I really want to say comes through. I still use the techniques, but care much less intensely about whether they agree or even "get" it. (I want them to understand, but sometimes they won't.)
Thank you for your encouragement! That means more to me than you know, I think. Pray hard--I'm writing, but I'm also distracted by other life stuff, and still climbing step by step into being confident in what I produce. But God has me here for a reason, and I think it's more than just finding my husband. :)
That novel sounds well worth reading.
If I recall correctly, Jane Yolen tends to have unhappy endings, which I keep on re-discovering when I get intrigued by the fascinating world-building, get sucked in to reading, and then Bang! Just warning you, in case you're like me and have an aversion to unhappy endings.
Thank you for your encouragement! That means more to me than you know, I think.
I seem to be much better at encouraging other people than I am at encouraging myself. Paradox.
|Date:||April 21st, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)|| |
I know exactly what you mean.
Although in theory the audience isn't necessary, in reality the need for communication, or at least the recognition that someone is reading it does matter.
I always said that I didn't care if people loved or hated what I wrote, just as long as they weren't indifferent.
Edited at 2011-04-21 04:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, communication. That's the key, I think.