I miss writing. It’s not that I don’t write often – in fact, I pretty much write everyday, and white it is mostly schoolwork, I make sure I write something for me every single day. I keep, well I like to call it my 365daysofzine, but it’s so not a zine, it’s like more like a diary, but it’s not really like a diary either, but just somewhere where I write or draw about the day every day. It started off as drawings, and then both, and now it’s mostly writing, but it depends.
So, it’s not the act of writing I miss, because a) the diary/not diary thing and b) year 12, but rather, writing about one thing for a long time, aka a novel.
I once tried to write a novel. It’s never been finished and probably never will be, because it’s not really going anywhere and half the plot points are for the sake of the plot points, and to sort of get to the end, but I got stuck in between one of the plot points and the ending, and I couldn’t find a way to get me from plot point to ending without making it completely 100% obvious that it was just for the sake of getting there. So, now it remains on approximately 40, 000 words: nearly finished, but not quite.
Ever since not finishing it (and even before), I’ve had an idea in my head for another novel. Sentences and ideas come at completely inopportune moments, and I write/type it down on whatever I’ve got handy, hoping to remember where it is in the hope that one day I actually sit down to write the damn thing.
I’ve always used the excuse of time because I’m in year 12 and I’m the kind of person that will either take forever to write something or completely smash it out in an hour. I also don’t like starting something and not having time/planned time to finish it. So, my plan was to always plan for the novel and then start at the end of year 12.
But, I’m beginning to realise while the time thing is completely true, there is another thing that is even more true and it stops me from even sitting down with the sole purpose of planning this thing: I am completely and utterly terrified.
I went to a talk recently where Morris Gleitzman spoke and he quoted someone that said “write what you know”, and he said the quote was quoted in the 40s or 50s or sometime ago, and that maybe it was true then, but it’s not true now. And I definitely agree with him. If people only wrote what they knew, we wouldn’t have 95% of the literature we have out there today; and if we followed that rule, things would take so much longer to get written, because people have to learn about given thing first.
And that’s where my the problem lies. It has to be real – it needs to make sense to the people reading it, and they can’t suspend belief, because they’re meant to be experiencing something that they could just as easily experience, if they were that person.
Fantasy is different. There are a different set of rules for fantasy, because for fantasy, everything only has to be real within that realm. For example, the idea of a boy wizard in real life is completely ridiculous but in Harry Potter, that’s what it is. But on the other side of the scale, putting a gun into the world of Harry Potter is also completely ridiculous. I feel like in a way fantasy is easier, because you can create your own rule sets, and people accept anything that happens within these books, considering they adhere to the rule sets made by you. The problem (or good thing) about contemporary YA is that the boundaries are ‘could this happen in real human life’?
For fantasy, you can create dragons and mermaids and centaurs and talking animals and pretty much, anything goes.
Which is where my problem is: I don’t want to get it wrong. At this point in my life, I’m not interested in writing fantasy – maybe later on – but right now, I want to write contemporary YA, where humans (teenagers) face problems that are relevant and real to people that live in the world today. I want it to be funny and relateable and sassy and for someone to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist (or hell, any character), and go “yes, this could be me”. I don’t want people to say, “no, that couldn’t happen”, or “what, what?”.
I know there isn’t a right and a wrong, but for me as this 18 year old writer, that’s what will make and break a person. When I’m older, I might look back on this and go, “Lauren, what in the world were you thinking”, or still think exactly the same thing. And of course, not everyone will like what I write and there’ll be people who like it no matter what, but, I want to write something that I can be proud of, and I would like other people to like it too.