As a writer things have been decent lately. I’ve been writing shorter stuff for myself and possibly the Amazon kindle store at some point, and at a pretty good clip too. This morning I got a bit stuck on one story because I realized my main character was falling flat. She just seems too perfect or even just average–so much as to be boring. For me I think this is a symptom of not thinking through the story enough.
The problem I turned over as I realized the problem this morning has been one for a while. I can’t seem to plot a story tightly and then write it effectively. My short work of late has mostly been by the seat of my pants, and thus I was able to get some progress, but there isn’t much room for longevity. The story I’m working on now is supposed to be longer (not a novel, but still longer than a short story). The issue is I really need a good character, and when I come up with a good character in a fascinating situation the story somehow becomes much harder to write. I can think of a few reasons why this is the case.
Reason one is a problem of perception. It used to be my good ideas were not so treasured by my subconscious. Ideas are cheap, but I forget that often. Once I have a good idea it becomes difficult to write the story that goes with it, for fear of ruining the great idea. This is foolishness, as I proved time and again with the books I wrote previously. Each book was built from a different period of ideas but by the end I think the ideas themselves were all good (the books, not so much). In any case, I can solve this problem by ignoring my own doubts and writing more instead of heeding them. This should allow me to make use of an outline and still write quickly if I can do it right. The answer seems obvious now and it feels right, but it must have been a tough one for me because it took over four months to work this out.
The second reason I think the problem has arisen is that I fear ruining the pre-work I’ve done. This is an outgrowth of the thought that my ideas will be better than the stories I make from them. On a scale of 1-10 the ideas might be rated higher as ideas, but they will never be rated on the same 1-10 scale as stories. Only stories can be compared to stories, so an idea that does not get made into a story cannot even be considered for a rating. That’s the way I thought about it anyway.
I’ve looked all over to find fuel. I’ve looked everywhere for advice. But I never thought of the amount I’d need to struggle against myself would be so substantial. It’s true what was said about writers (And people in general): “We are our own worst enemies.”
But I’ve got it now.
I’m going to go write the good writing now.