Tag Archives: first

Changes …

I suppose I should have probably put this in the ‘Inane Thoughts’ category, but it really does have … something … to do with writing. Obviously, I’ve been making a lot of changes to this place recently, and I’ve been through a lot of changes in the past nine months or so as well.  I don’t really know how relevant any of that is. But the more I look back at old pieces, the more I’m starting to consider whether these changes in my life have actually been reflected in my writing.

I’ll start with style and tense, though, because to me, this is the most obvious change. Upon looking back at things written pre-2012 I’ve noticed mostly that it was almost impossible to tear me away from third person past tense. I wrote everything in third, I guess because it was comfortable, because it was what I had been used to reading and it was comfortable enough for me to write in.

Now, I just can’t stand it.

I don’t mean for this to be insulting to anyone who writes in third person past, because I don’t mean I hate this type of narration. I’m just not comfortable writing in it anymore. And for me, this is more than a little strange because it’s all I wrote in for nearly a decade. Like I said, it was comfortable. It was straightforward. I liked that as much as anything else.

Really, I couldn’t tell you what my issue with it is now. I feel slightly out of my comfort zone when I try to revert to it, not that I wouldn’t like to try, and as though there’s something missing. There’s a connection I’m not making because of the way I’m writing the story. And I start to consider how each story could have been so different if it was just written in a different way; I mean, there are some that probably wouldn’t have worked, but a number that would have, and these seem a little like missed opportunities to me. I also feel as though there’s something I’m not quite reaching or tapping into that I desperately want to, and that the narration is important in relation to this.

Anyway, self-indulgence over for the time being, I suppose what I’m really getting at is how much does narration and style really govern? As I’ve stated above, there are times when I feel as though the direction of an entire story hinges upon it. But then, are there novels that would remain almost the same regardless of how they’re told? I’ll use a very well-known example here; how different would the Harry Potter novels have been if they’d have been written in first person? Considering J.K. Rowling followed Harry for the most part (and yes, I did read these, even though they’re not my usual ‘bag’, but it was quite a while ago now, so the details are probably off anyway), how much would this have impacted the story? Then, on the other hand, we have a favourite of mine, American Psycho, which would not be the same novel if written from a different perspective, and there is no way around this. If Tim Price was telling the story, it would have been impossibly different. It probably wouldn’t have been titled American Psycho either, though, because in Price’s mind, Patrick Bateman doesn’t butcher women in his apartment. Price just doesn’t know anything about this. 

I digress (if only slightly). The easiest answer to the question would be that it depends entirely on the novel, and to some degree, it does, but I do think it also depends on the writer. There are certain hallmarks we come to associate with certain writers; so it’s not too far-fetched to guess that this is also the case from a more personal standpoint. Part of writing, in and of itself is, after all, establishing your own voice as a writer, as well as allowing your characters to establish theirs. I would guess that this has a little something to do with knowing yourself before getting to know anyone else; knowing yourself as a writer before getting to know the people you’re writing about. Because no matter which voice you use, it’s never entirely possible to shake the feeling that you’re still telling someone else’s story. You’re writing  about them, not  as them. (Oh, look, I switched into second for a while, there).

And I have to wonder, is this really anything more than drunken rambling?But it’s been bothering me for a while now. So I suppose I just had to get it out there.

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Badlands, Bad Writing, and the Best Damn Thing.

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This post is a part of the Teens Can Write, Too! Blog Chain for October, the question being; ‘What is the first thing you remember writing of your own accord?’ Delorfinde kicked off yesterday with an excellent post, Escape! A Play and set the bar for the posts to come this month. I’m sweating right now.

 So, first of all, how many of you remember this show?

Okay, second, you’re most likely wondering what in the heck Dragonball Z has to do with answering the question, or writing in general, right? Essentially, everything. The short version of the story is as follows; when I was eight, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up, and decided to watch TV for a while. My dad was still awake and watching DBZ … it may seem a little odd for a man in his late thirties to be watching this, but my dad was always a fan of Martial Arts films, so I can see what the draw would have been. Anyway, I started watching it with him. It was great for me and dad to have something we shared an interest in. This interest, as they often do, gradually grew into an obsession that sometimes bordered on the insane – I missed a week of school to re-watch video-taped marathons of the show. At eight, this was as far as it went. By ten, I was scripting my own episodes, with a (Mary-Sueish) character I’d created. By thirteen, my first ‘masterpiece’ was complete – a fan fiction following my character, Kerroi, and her exploits.

For a while, my dad insisted I send the scripted episodes, and later, the fan fiction, to Akira Toriyama and get him to create a new series from them. This inspired something rather different; obsessed as I was with Dragonball Z, I thought … what if I could write something new, something original on the basis of what I’d already done?

Dragon Badlands didn’t follow the plot of Dragonball Z but looking back, the most obvious things I lifted from the series were the characters – sure, I gave them all spiffy names like Ekaia, Zehio, Jalkie and Nelisha, but at the very bottom of their character sheets, I likened them all to characters from DBZ. The plot didn’t really bear any similarities. The intention was for it to be a ‘journey’, sure … I mapped out the entirety of the Dragon Badlands and it had everything I could have possibly wanted to traverse; a city bordered by a jungle, on the other side of which there was a seaside town, surrounded by a desert which led to a canyon, a lake to cross, and finally, the mountain range. Oh, and there was a castle somewhere, too. The plot was loose, something along the lines of ‘The Embodiment of Evil has broken free of the Dragon Star and you have to stop it before it reaches Dragon City by crossing the deadly Dragon Badlands’ … yeah, I liked dragons. Anyway, nothing too complex for my eleven-year-old mind to handle, a nice little journey with some possible death and destruction, romance, secrets, the usual. Looking back, now, I’m surprised by just how warped my brain at eleven years old was, but I’ll spare you all the details of that.

This story was truly amazing. It was the most innovative, original idea I’d ever had. Sure, I’d written a few violent crime thrillers in school, and something I vaguely remember that concerned a nun bludgeoning someone to death with a candle holder (see, warped), but this … this was amazing. It was going to be my debut work, and I was going to be rich and famous like J.K. Rowling.

I stopped working on Dragon Badlands around the same time as we got hooked up to the Internet here at home (dial-up … that thing where you have to turn off the Internet to use the phone, or vice versa) and I found all these really wonderful Dragonball Z related websites, and later, MFG Forums, which prompted me to start work on Dragonball KK. As I said, obsessed. I’d also just started high school around this time, and found myself distracted, enough that I didn’t have the time to sit down and write anymore.

It’s a bit presumptuous of me to call Dragon Badlands a story anyway. There were a few chapters floating around the house, written in red ball-point pen, but I never got much past the ‘gang’ establishing that the Embodiment of Evil had broken out of the Dragon Star. No traversing jungles, deserts, canyons … no, nothing. Essentially, most of it happened in my head which, truth be told, is about as far as most of my stories get anyway. It wasn’t my first complete story, let’s say that.

It was my first, real, original story, though, all … two or three chapters of it. I don’t count anything I wrote before this time, on the basis that there was always some assignment it was tied to. Write this way, or that way. Some specification.

Dragon Badlands was more than an idea, though. More than a story, even. It became a place for me to retreat to; this escape from school (I had a medical issue at the time that, essentially, warranted people staring at me like a circus freak), and a time when I could actually feel … like somebody. To have fans of my work that were as obsessive as I was about Dragonball Z. To create something that meant that much to others, as much as it did to me … in short, all the insanities of a pubescent girl (yes, I said that) who felt like nothing and wanted to be something.

So. I now urge you all to check out this month’s Teens Can Write, Too! Blog Chain. It includes a plethora of great teen writers, all of which, I am sure, will have their own unique take on answering this question;

October 15th — http://delorfinde.wordpress.com – A Farewell To Sanity

October 16th — https://thelitjunkie.wordpress.com – Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat

October 17th — http://taystapeinc.wordpress.com – Tay’s Tape

October 18th — http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com/ – Novel Journeys

October 19th —- http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com/ – Red Herring Online

October 20th —http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com/ – Kirsten Writes!

October 21st — http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–  The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

October 22nd — http://herestous.wordpress.com – Here’s To Us

October 23rd — http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com – Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for the next month’s chain)


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