Jennifer Crusie offered some great advice on keeping the dream alive (and reality at arm’s length):
… what separates the successful writers with long term careers from those who don’t make it is that the successful writers have the perception that they’re in control, that if they keep going, somebody will finally see the greatness of their stories.
So you’re building your island based on unrealistic dreams and convictions made of thin air. What’s the worst that can happen? You never get published or the book of your heart tanks, and you never reach your goal, but at the end of your life you look back and say, “I had a dream and I fought for it, I believed in myself and my work, and I never, ever gave up.” That’s a life well lived, folks, a helluva lot better than, “I had a dream but it wasn’t realistic so I quit and watched television.” Do not let reality push you around, do not be sensible and kill your own dreams, and for the love of God do not let people who are only guessing about what’s going to happen next tell you that you’re a fool for believing in yourself and your stories.
Thank you for sharing this post, Laini, and thank you for writing it, Jennifer! (Loved Wild Ride, by the way.)
This is such timely* advice, given how I’m SERIOUSLY losing steam for Neverland. It’s so tempting to want to toss it aside and not think about this train wreck anymore, but then you read such upbeat posts and you reconsider that notion.
*Even though the post was published waaaaay back in 2005 – I got directed there from Laini’s old posts** Hey, never too late for some encouragement.
**Why yes, I’ve read all the way back to 2006. Obsessed, you say?***
***I can’t hear you.
Right now, it kinda feels like this:
I was looking through Until Morning last night and I realised what is amiss as I write Neverland: the magic.
Not in the literal sense (although Until Morning and the Neverland differ in that sense too). No. What I mean is that feeling of being pulled into the story, until I’m scrambling to put all my thoughts into words, typing feverishly as the story sweeps me towards the final scene.
That feeling of knowing your characters so well that they become an extension of yourself, and you realise the characters were inside you all along, banging against your chest, clamouring to be let out.
That feeling where you know their stories so well that their problems become yours, and their actions and motivations lead neatly up to the final act.
That feeling at the end where everything comes into place in the end and makes sense and you can finally see what the hell your story was meant to look like. And you’re so psyched you’re pretty much like this:
That feeling. That huge whoosh that takes you right from the start to the end. That eagerness to write. To discover. That was how it was with Until Morning**** I had FUN writing Until Morning. But for Neverland … not so much. Maybe it was that magical element that made writing Until Morning more fun (Until Morning is contemporary YA with a touch of magical realism). But I’ve written realistic YA before, and it didn’t feel as uninspiring as Neverland.
****Or is it just post-novel selective amnesia, where I only remember the good bits from writing the completed novel and not the bad parts? Is there even such a thing???
I know I’ve bitched and moaned about this enough in my previous posts, and the last thing you want to read is another lament on flat, limpid characters and a plot that’s meandering nowhere. I get it. Like, get it together already, woman! Believe me, there is nothing I would like to do more than that.
So that’s that on the writing front. I’ll let you know if anything changes.
So apparently, there’s this new app called Tinder, which looks like another dating app but supposedly isn’t, because you get to look at Facebook profiles (the app is linked to Facebook) of people (set preferred gender) around you (set radius)…
And then you swipe right if you are interested and left if you’re not. If the person you swiped right for shows mutual interest, you two will be automatically mated for life put to chat.
Put bluntly, it’s pretty much man-shopping based on profile pictures. Way to encourage people to judge based on appearances – like I don’t already do that on my own.
I told my (single) girlfriends about this app (why is it called Tinder anyway?), and they seem to be having more fun with it than I am. I don’t know, maybe I’m more into serendipitous encounters than casual conversations on a cellphone. You know, more Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop and all that, instead of You’ve Got Mail.
Yeah, I’m aware that if I keep waiting for a chance encounter with a handsome, sweet and funny stranger at my usual hideouts I will probably end up like this:
Ah well. For now, I’m keeping busy. Neverland, be kind to me!
At least I have him in mind for Peter Pan.
Besides, so many books, so little time! Right now, I’m reading this:
SO MUCH LOVE for this! Unlike DOSAB, it’s written in first-person POV, and alternates between Karou’s crazy, tiny, fierce, funny best friend Zuzana and her crush, sweet, shy, talented violin-playing Mik. The prose is pretty, lovely, funny and completely Laini, if you read her blog.
Here’s a snippet I love:
See how her prose sets off so many visuals in your mind? The words may look dull on the page, but with the right dose of imagination they can come so completely alive and paint such a vivid picture. I just can’t get enough of her pretty imagery!
After Night of Cake and Puppets, there’s Blackbringer and Silksinger. But then I want – no, need – to reread Days of Blood and Starlight before April (i.e. Dreams of Gods and Monsters) comes along.
Damn. Those titles. Epic or what?
Have a great weekend!