Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nobody Ever Says ‘I Like Long Walks on the Beach’ Anymore

What do you think about this idea…

Posting as a Guest Poster on your own blog because you’re writing something from your character’s point of view?

I was actually thinking of doing it this morning. What do you think? Would it be a good way to work out some character development? Maybe even get a few hundred words written for the book? Or is it kind of weird because there’s no such thing as method writing? Or is there? Well even if there is, I wouldn’t be taking part.

See, in MS2 my main character, Donna McCarthy (subject to change), is a blogger who writes about her dating life and all the stuff going on around her. It’s a lot like my blog, except, you know, without me actually having to ever date a rodeo clown. And thank god for that because clowns freak me the fuck out.

But I digress.

Donna is a single gal and her primary focus online is to talk about her wacky dates. Most of them end up being tragically sad and never move past a first date. But then I was thinking why not let her post about dating without her having to go on a date. She could just talk about how irritating the online dating world can be. “Donna” – remember, fictional character – would post her own randomness and lunacy over here.

I’d use the same title that’s on this blog post of course.

Because even though I’m not online dating I can pretty much guarantee that under Interests you’re not going to see answers like sunsets, romantic hand holding over candle light, slow saxophone solos, mullets, or any of the other answers you had on your Cosmo quiz in 1993.

Which is also pretty likely the last year I actually bought Cosmo.

Everyone always says to write what you know.  And what the heck do I know about the online dating scene other than what I hear from people? How can I go and write a character that lives in the dating scene of 2012 when I’m not a part of it?

All of these questions beg me to ask another - Do I need to toss this MS altogether?

Has my inspiration and love for this story and the characters fizzled out completely? Or is it just time to put it in a drawer for the next six months and start dedicating time to developing the next MS so I can approach Donna and the rest of them with renewed interest later?

I’ve been struggling with moving the plot forward now that I’ve got a fresh concept for the ending in mind and I’m feeling less than enthusiastic to work on it. Even less so than when I got to the love/hate part while working on Ripple the Twine. I put editing on my calendar but didn’t do much. Yes I do admit there was a lot going on with Ripple promotion in late July. But I look at the half bleeding MS2 now that all that is over and think, meh.

I even finished painting my baseboard trim in the master bath today to avoid working on the edits and re-writes. That’s got to be a sign, right? But what kind of sign is the question – that I’m done for a while or that I’m phoning it in like a pansy?

Ugh, Writers. Always overanalyzing everything until all we see is a jumbled word cloud of chaos.


KC McAuley said...

Jenn - I'll just point you to this posting from me 5 years ago - ask me why this is the last time I tried online dating sometime.



Karen said...

If writers only ever wrote out of their own personal experience, there would be a lot fewer books out there. Oh yes, and the entire genres of science fiction and fantasy (plus historical fiction, most crime, and probably two thirds of the general fiction section) would cease to exist. So you're not a part of the 2012 online dating scene; maybe you just need to run your MS by some editors who are and who can give you a reality check.

Besides, online dating isn't monolithic. I did it every few years since 1999 only to be reminded why it was such a bad idea. Until I met my now-husband through a glitch in Match.com's algorithm in 2006.

Only you can decide if this book is going anywhere. But I don't think it has to be an either/or between shelving it for a while or tossing it altogether (though those are of course two viable options). But what might a third option be?

As for writing a guest post as Donna? Why the hell not??!! Get in her skin, see how she feels. It might be just the shake-up your 'relationship' needs!

#1Nana said...

Karen gave good advice. As i get older i realize that I really don't know anything...maybe that's why i haven't much lately?

Judi FitzPatrick said...

What have you got to lose having "Donna" do a "guest post"?
Love you, Mum

Suldog said...

I think writing "in character" could be a hoot! What have you got to lose? I say go for it!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Holy crap KC your post is like a perfect description of the main character in my MS! Awesome :-) I'm not laughing about the challenges of online dating because I know you personally and that's so not cool. But for inspiration to give a glimpse at a fictional character (who goes through WAY more than this, but I bring the humor to lessen any real sting of course) I'm all for having the chance to read your story. Its just nice to know that there are people out there who will understand exactly where Donna's coming from. And that there's other people who want to hurl when they read about candle light walks on the beach at sunset while a solo saxophonist follows you. Heehee. Thanks for sharing this my friend, I love your lyrical soul xoxo

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

It's one of the reasons I'm starting to feel drawn to writing Crime, Noir, or Suspense, for my next one. This might sound strange but I'm finding Chick-Lit tough to write now because I'm actually in a happy marriage with a guy I love daily & vice versa. There's no fantasy life required. Generally my fiction comes from the things I'm wanting for the fantasy world inside my head.

Now, does that mean I fantasize about going out and stabbing someone, being put in protective custody, stalking someone? No, not a chance. But there are times I get up on my snarky horse and can completely appreciate the inclination. That's the world inside my head now because my reality has love I don't need to imagine finding it. You know what I mean?

Not that writing all this out helps me to decide if I'll continue to pursue finishing the MS. But it feels good to acknowledge that there might be deeper stuff going on than just being a procrastinator. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I actually had a similar idea a couple weeks ago but scrapped it for something else. It sounds like a great idea and you should definitely try it if you're feeling stuck or bored. You could make it a regular feature if you want. It would be a great way to release excerpts or brainstorm ideas and introducing us to donna's world (whether your blog posts are used in MS2 or not) will whet your audience's appetite for the novel.

Hope you decided to do this, I bet it will be a lot of fun for you!