I say all the time and I sincerely mean it-I appreciate everyone’s comments and feedback on TSQ and TP. I’ve been so wonderfully surprised and blessed by my readers. Flattery is great, but that being said, I’m not the kind of person that can’t take constructive criticism. If you really know me then you know I actually thrive on it.
There was a comment posted on one of my stories over the weekend that really left a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn’t what was said-it was how it was said. Maybe I’m misinterpreting her intentions, but that’s the thing about social media. You only know what you read. And what I read really rubbed me the wrong way.
I haven’t written anything worthwhile since then. It made me want to change things I’ve had planned since I first started preparing for NaNoWriMo. I haven’t been able to figure out how to get past it in a constructive and positive way. My writing has been dramatically and adversely affected. I can’t write shit.
If you’re a writer on the board, you probably know what I’m talking about when I say that the difference between writing “for real” and writing for fan fiction is that in the “real” world, people don’t see your book until it’s finished. They can guess and hypothesize and predict all they want in their own heads. And they’re either right or wrong. But it doesn’t matter because it’s already written. It doesn’t have any influence on how the story goes. The story’s already done. They’re just enjoying the journey.
In fan fiction, a single comment can make you want to keep writing or it can make you want to slam the cover down on your netbook and say “I quit.” For me personally, the “guess what Riddlah’s next move will be” comment game got old. In looking at my own actions, I’m totally responsible for that. I’m the one who kept telling people that they weren’t close to getting it right. (Still aren’t, by the way.) I issued the challenge-unintentionally. Seriously, why can’t people just read a story and enjoy the ride?
I was torn about posting this blog because I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, I live for people’s comments on TP. When I get an alert that a comment has been posted, it’s the only thing I think about for the next few minutes. And usually when I get to read them, I smile.
But at the same time, I appreciate a great deal the people who are keeping their hypotheses to themselves. I’ve had people message me privately saying that they’re waiting to read until it’s done now because the comments feel like spoilers or influence what they’re thinking. And they’re not even writing-just reading!
SPOILER ALERT IN THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN’T READ WHAT’S BEEN POSTED SO FAR. I was SO excited that everyone was surprised by the Outcasts. That wasn’t something I’d just thrown in there on a whim; they were planned from day one. There was actually supposed to be mention of them collectively in TSQ but when I wrote that scene, it just didn’t flow with the way TSQ was going. So I scrapped it. They were a major factor in my decision to do a sequel. I loved how surprised everyone was when I posted that chapter. THESE are the kind of comments that are writer fuel to me. ***END SPOILER***
When I read, I predict what will happen just like the people who comment to that effect on TP. And I LOVE being right. Hell, I love being right about pretty much everything. But I don’t throw my guess out there on the board for everyone and their Sister to read because it ruins the fun for people who don’t want to guess-who just want to read and enjoy a story. Candidly, it also ruins it for the writer who wants people to be surprised. Being surprised is a huge entertainment factor. The twists and turns are what make you keep guessing. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I thrive on hearing that people are surprised, or that I put a twist or turn in that you didn’t expect, or that something I wrote evoked an emotion you didn’t expect to feel, or that it evoked an emotion at all! That’s what keeps me writing when I get down. And I’ve gotten down about TP a hell of a lot more than I ever did with TSQ.
Real world for a moment? I’m still having health issues (the dizziness has re-emerged in the last week or so), I’m working extra hours for concert ticket money this week and next week in addition to my regular job, I’ve got my private practice taxes and end of year billing to manage, and Saturday’s my birthday so the parents and their Jack Russells will be descending on our home tomorrow evening-after I work a 13 hour day. And there’s this guy who lives in my house. He says he’s something called a “husband.” I’ve forgotten what it feels like to just spend a night hanging out with him. The only “person” in our house who’s happy with the amount of time I’ve spent staring at this machine after work for the past three months is our cat Maggie because she gets to be on my lap for hours at a time.
I’ve written nothing but TP since November 1st, not to mention all the planning and note writing and scene sketching I did prior to the start of NaNo. Now, 200,000+ words, 450 pages, and three months later, I’m exhausted. That doesn’t even include May-September that I spent working on TSQ. I’ve been living and breathing fan fiction for seven straight months. Prior to first posting TSQ in May, I’d never posted a fan fiction at all.
Writing The Pact has taken way more out of me than I ever imagined. I’ve been wrongly accused (and vindicated) of plagiarism, had my story accidentally deleted, reposted it, been chewed out for plot decisions I’ve made, made glaring errors in consistency I can’t take back, received threats (and bribes), battled the incessant blue screen of death, cried and screamed. And this is fucking fan fiction, people! It’s a hobby.
So where is all this going, and what does it mean?
I’ve decided to press “Pause” on The Pact.
It might last for a few hours. It might last for a few days. There’s a small chance it may be for a few weeks. It’s to be determined.
I’m NOT giving up writing. I’m not going to leave the story unfinished. This isn’t some ploy to get attention or for people to beg me to keep writing. I’m not out to punish anyone. I’m sure I’ve missed some gossipy bullshit rumor, so you can insert that here as well. This isn’t about anything except my creative process and my desire to never do anything half-assed. I just need a break or what you’re going to get from me will be crap. That’s just not who I am as a writer.
I recently came to the now glaringly obvious conclusion that keeping everyone happy is an impossible feat. It doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist who puts more pressure on myself than everyone else combined.
The story will continue, I promise. And hopefully you’ll all stick around for when it does. But from here on out? I’m going to make like Frank Sinatra and do it My Way.