Yesterday, I stumbled upon this funny little article. Author Chuck Wendig strives to unveil the twenty-five most popular lies writers allegedly tell themselves (and actually start believing at some point). Now, while I found some of them quite entertaining, I politely disagree with others. Here’s the reason why.
‘Lie’ #2 on chuck’s list: “It’s Okay That I Didn’t Write Today, I’ll Do It Tomorrow!” [His spelling, not mine]
He calls this nonsense and argues that maybe the writer [subsequently referred to as ‘I’, ‘me’ or whatever… yes, I’m too lazy to find synonyms for ‘the writer’] won’t live to see said tomorrow. Maybe because of a heart attack, a car crash, a panda mauling… yeah, I can totally see that one coming. Anyway, I might be bold enough here to call this argument invalid. I mean, he’s right: life’s short, and we never know what might get in the way of writing. Or living, for that matter. But what good does it do if I add another five hundred words to a novel that will never see the light of day anyway if I get eaten by a panda tomorrow? If that’s gonna happen, I’m way better off enjoying this early summer’s day outside than sitting in front of a computer all day while life is happening without me.
And besides, it’s still up to me if I write nothing today and twice as much tomorrow… by the way: Anyone else doing Camp NaNoWriMo this summer?^^
‘Lie’ #3 on Chuck’s list: “I’ll Come Back To This Story After I Write This Other Story!”
Here he gets kind of insulting, actually. He denies 90% of us the capability to store a certain story idea away for further consideration and actually come back to write it. You know, Chuck, no offense, but just because you can’t do that doesn’t mean the majority of writers can’t. Actually, I do this a lot. I have tons of ideas, but most of the time, I’m currently working on something else. In fact, I’m doing this right now. I started a novel, but will take a break for Camp NaNoWriMo in June. And guess what? I know this will work because I did it before. As did a lot of other writers I met. It’s called keeping a plot bunny alive, and we do that all the time.
‘Lie’ #7 on Chuck’s list: “My Characters Are In Control!”
I understand this to a certain degree. If someone eavesdropped on a group of writers discussing this, he’d probably think they’re nuts. But saying that the characters control the story most of the time means something else. True, we might even feel like our characters are bossing us around every now and then. But mostly we mean the following: “I can’t just write out of character!” I do have invented characters I could order around easily – but those were flat, boring ones. The good characters, those I love to read and desire to write myself, are the ones the above ‘lie’ is about. There’s a reason we throw around the term “out of character” a lot. Sometimes, we plan the characters to do something that just feels wrong when we read it, or even as we write it. It’s so totally OOC that it’s disgusting to write, let alone leave it in and publish it (if that happens, readers usually complain about inconsistent characterisation a lot…). When we create a character and ascribe them certain traits, we can’t just change that on page 152 just because it’s inconvenient that the MMC is afraid of heights but has to rescue the FMC who is stuck in a tree. If it was a life-or-death situation, this would be different; usually, this happens around the end of a book, when an MC has to overcome their weaknesses in order to make a happy ending possible. But there has to be a good reason; it’s called character development. Up to this point, we have to write true to character, and this is why we sometimes complain about them trying to control the story.
[I noticed that I’m throwing some writer’s vocabulary into the text; just FYI, an MC is a main character, an FMC the female lead, and the MMC the male one. OOC is, obviously, ‘out of character’, with IC being the opposite, ‘in character’. Just in case some of you are wondering…]
‘Lie’ #9 on Chuck’s list: “I Write Only For Me!”
In that case, Chuck advises us not to write at all. Period. Seriously, dude, what the hell?! When I write hundreds of pages just for my personal entertainment, that’s my choice, isn’t it? We all have some skeletons in the cupboard; old stories, maybe fanfic we don’t want anyone to know about, or just plain bad texts we used to practice. Yes, that’s right. Shocking as this might sound, we need practice, too! Obviously, that means that I have tons of stories on my hard-drive that will never come to light. Some are early versions of current stories I kept for nostalgia. Some are battle scenes, romantic scenes, sex scenes or whatever that I wrote to see if I could do it. And some are really just what I said above: pure entertainment for my personal use. Just because I write something doesn’t mean I have to share it, as Chuck seems to think. A painter isn’t required to exhibit his early sketches, either, so we shouldn’t be required to publish everything we write – ain’t that right, Chuck?
‘Lie’ #18 on Chuck’s list: “My Crap Isn’t As Crappy As Some Other Crap!”
I didn’t quite get what he was trying to get across with his answer to this one. But just looking at the fact that he called this a lie, I’d like to say this: I will always, no matter what happens, even if the world ends and we all get eaten by pandas, be proud to claim that whatever I put out there is not as bad as Twilight. Or Eragon, for that matter. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed reading Twilight, but let’s face it: The series doesn’t possess any remarkable literary qualities. Especially if we take into account that Stephenie Meyer is supposed to have a degree in English Literature. I’m not going to bitch about how unfair it is that she got published an I’m still depending on my parents’ generosity. I’m just saying that it is totally justified to claim that your text is better than XYZ if this is actually the case. And no, I don’t like Eragon at all. The story is clichéd, artificial yet full of plot holes, and the writing is just what it is: done by a fifteen-year-old. I wrote fanfic at that age, and it reads exactly like Eragon. With Twilight, there’s at least a sappy romance going on and a guy to drool over (as long as we’re into creepy, 100+ years old stalkers). But Eragon doesn’t even have that. So what the hell? I don’t get it.
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Okay, I noticed that the majority of posts is in English. Sometimes, I think it’s useless to translate, or I’m just too lazy to do it. So let’s just say that standard from now on is, indeed, English, but I will write German entries every now and then whenever I feel like it. And it’s likely that I will translate or at least paraphrase those. But whenever I write in English, I suppose this will be sufficient.
And talking about Twilight: I still think that Bela Lugosi as Dracula is so much more scary than Edward Cullen will ever be. I mean, he’s all in black and white, but at least he doesn’t sparkle. And unlike Robert Pattinson, Lugosi was one hell of an actor…
End random rambling. Have a nice day :)