(The usual Words Crush Wednesday post is cancelled this week, because it’s the first Wednesday of the week, so it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’ll be back to quoting the Iliad next week. Or maybe I’ll switch it up and move to someone more recent, like Sophocles or Euripides.)
Lately, I’ve been feeling like there’s no point to working on polishing my writing. Because the point of re-writing and polishing is trying to get it to out to the public, right? But it’s clear to me that I’ll never get anything I’ve written to a point where anyone would want to read it. My basic ideas are good, I’m sure of that, but my prose is childish, my characters are shallow, and any time I attempt a love story, it’s entirely unconvincing, because I’ve never been in a romantic relationship. (That, of course, is why I decided that my heroic trio in my quasi-YA novels would not have any romantic relationships. Well, except then I later established that the young man in the trio already had several unofficial fiancees (not of his own will) and a girl he’s in love with, but since all those conditions are pre-existing, it’s a very different type of unconvincing.)
On the NaNo forums towards the end of April’s Camp NaNo, or possibly in very early May, I was given a link to a private forum where I could get some feedback on Ilios, since it was already in bite-size chunks, so that I could re-publish it. (Ilios is my Trojan War novel, telling the whole story of the war, as mythically accurate as possible, with each chapter being narrated in the first person by a different character. (Which I thought was a unique approach, until recently at a used book store, when I found another novel that had done the same thing, as far as I could tell by glancing through it. Took a very different approach, of course, and probably didn’t tell the whole war. I might have picked it up, if the author had used Aias instead of Ajax, but he didn’t, so I didn’t.) I had e-published it a while ago on LeanPub, but I officially “retired” it because I was so disgusted with how badly I had handled some of the chapters, particularly some of the key emotional chapters tied to the events of the Iliad.)
Anyway, I said I would go to those forums after turning my final paper in, mid-May. I still have yet to do so. Because…what’s the point? The person who offered doesn’t understand how bad my writing is. People always hear my ideas and say “that sounds great; let me read it and I’ll give you feedback!” Then they read it and can’t find anything to say, because what needs to be said is “Don’t give up the day job.” (Which is awkward, considering I don’t have one.) Of course, there’s more to it than that; I’d be intruding on a forum where everyone else is already close friends, and what would I say when I got there? I guess it’s partially my social phobia obstructing me even online.
But even though I intend to eventually re-write the abysmal chapters of Ilios, I don’t know if I’ll bother re-publishing it. Even for free, it only got two downloads. (Admittedly, that’s partially because LeanPub does not have a flourishing fiction section; it’s more a place for IT texts and other technical books. But even if it was on Amazon or someplace, I don’t think it would have any more success, even for free.)
For at least fifteen years, every word of fiction I wrote was purely for myself. In fact, most of it was fanfic. Though it might seem like a waste of time and effort to write stories/novels/whatevers that I had no intention of ever showing to anyone else, it was comforting to know that it didn’t matter if it sucked, because no one else was going to see it. It didn’t matter if someone was out of character for a while, because no one would know. It was okay that the relationships were flat and unconvincing, because I was the only one who could read it.
But since telling myself that my fanfic days are over, I feel like I’m supposed to be writing towards the goal of publication, admittedly only the self-published kind. But there’s no way anything I write can ever be suitable for the public. As I said last month, I’m incapable of writing descriptions, because I don’t think visually: I have no idea what my characters look like apart from a very few physical details that I do impart in the books (primarily concerned with height and hair color) and even if I did know what they looked like, I wouldn’t be able to describe them, because I don’t “get” descriptions of faces. My ability to describe locations isn’t much better; my brain can’t grasp the geometry of the place, no matter how many descriptions I read of the region, or how many photos I see. (Even if I went to Greece and Turkey to see the places for myself, I doubt I’d have any better luck trying to describe them.)
I think I’m about to sink into a re-run of last month’s post, so I should perhaps stop while I’m ahead.