Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Attached (Fixated?)

Now Playing: Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori - More Than His Share, Deference for Darkness, Traffic Jam, and Halo: Reach, Overture.

So I tanked NaNo this year. Badly. I have never written so little in a month in my life. I have no idea what happened exactly--I had it in my head, little scenes, moments here and there, and I care a lot about Anne. But I felt like I was dragging. All I could think was God just get out of the town already. Sweet jesus just start a navy battle. Just SHOW THE MERMAIDS BY THIS POINT. Wait, where the hell is Jane?

In a fit of desperation, I started jumping around, writing the scenes I knew were going to happen at one point or another, but not really sure how they led to one another. When all the essays and studying and panic hit me, I slowed down badly. I kept thinking, I'll write the Run Lola Run essay today, then I can write a little for NaNo. But no, I still have another essay. And another. But then I have Thanksgiving. I have family, and friends who I've missed, and Skyrim--and for some reason, I suddenly feel like doing the Dark Brotherhood questline with an archer Wood Elf named Valianna, who has such beautiful mod hair I refuse to put a helmet or hood on her for like 80% of the time. (Though no problems with that--she just sneaks around and picks people off with arrows before they see her).

So yeah, okay, I procrastinated on a lot of things. But I'm fairly certain there has to be a reason for it. Yeah, I didn't win NaNo last year either, but even though I had college applications, Young Arts, and more school homework than I do now, I got 30k words into Ataraxia. It wasn't a lot, but I was way more focused.

I don't rely on inspiration, so that has never been a problem. In fact, I'm most inspired when I'm not writing. That may sound a little off to some people, but inspiration usually hits me when I'm world building, or when I'm sitting or laying down with my eyes closed, listening to music. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy writing, it just means I've never waited to get hit by inspiration to do it. It's not a chore to me, but it's not super easy either.

While I was writing Ataraxia, some of the trailers for Man of Steel were coming out. Music has always been the purest form of inspiration for me. I do usually get inspired by movies and video games and books, but it's only by listening to music that I start to imagine my characters in more concrete ways. If it wasn't for the song The Way Out Is Through, the central conflict of Ataraxia would have probably never come to be. It was the same with Man of Steel--when I got a hold of the first trailer song, An Ideal of Hope, I started to see Anne's story more clearly. But they were just scenes. I still don't and didn't have anything solid in place.

I know I have to give it time. I'm not planning to give up on it.

But every now and then I catch myself thinking about Ataraxia again. Like a conversation I should have refined, or a scene that still looks cooler in my head so I should probably rewrite it. That novel has so much flaws, and I felt so burned out after finishing it. But maybe I'm not done?

I miss Caesar and Sonya, and I don't think I did them justice. Am I ready to let go of Ataraxia just yet? That's the thing, I'm not sure.

Sigh. But if I start focusing on it too much, in a few weeks, when I'm covered in Christmas wrapping, lights tangled at my feet, and modern British literature spread out because Brace Yourself: Finals Are Coming, I'm going to be one of two things: 1) really frustrated or 2) really hopeful. I'm going to think Ataraxia is good enough to be published. And it's not. This, in fact, is a reminder that it's totes not ready and probably won't be three weeks or three months or even years from now.

Not sure about revising yet. But maybe I shoulder consider it. Or wait for something else? Hmm...

P.S: I know this is going to sound offensive, but I mean this in the most sincere way possible because the reaction of my classmates is confusing me: I can't tell if Christians or Scientologists have been coming to preach at the school.

I can hear their prophetic chanting from across Oglesby Union, from the bookstore at the end of the street to the library up the hill. And yet I have no idea what they're saying. I know the guy with the banner regarding evolution was a Christian, as was probably the dude who got into an argument with three students about...Abraham, I think? But what preacher-guy shouted "Let's get drunk and fornicate!" which elicited cheers? And who was that odd woman this morning? And the dude who got approached by a guy in a horse mask? I don't know. I've only seen that last thing happen with Scientologists. (Okay, once. I saw that once).

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.