Thursday, March 13, 2014

Being a fan of your own work

I had a very interesting conversation on twitter today with one of my writer friends. I admit that we seem to be a breed apart, able to discuss and commiserate with each other on issues that would probably make most people roll their eyes at best, and start measuring us for the white jackets with extra long sleeves and far too many buckles at worst. After all, from the outside, many of us seem to have some form of schizophrenia, or multiple personality disorder, or both. Only another writer can understand the concept of figments of our own imagination utterly refusing to do what we want them to do. Only another writer can understand the idea of these same figments of our own imaginations keeping secrets from us. Only another writer can understand the tips found in writing books that involve things like sitting down and having a conversation with your characters. 

A non writer would scratch their head in confusion if we tried to talk about this sort of thing. After all, they're our characters, we created them. Getting them to do what we want is just a matter of writing it that way, isn't it? Oh, if only it was that easy. Other writers get it, they've been there. They've all had the character that dug in their heels and rewrote the plot to suit their own whims. Funny thing that only writers can understand, usually when we let the characters do that, they create something a million times better than anything we originally had planned. So, even if we COULD force them to do what we want, that wouldn't mean that we SHOULD. I have a character that you will meet as soon as I find a picture for her. She was supposed to be a bit player, a way to make something that happens later make a bit more sense than it would without her. But very minor, nonetheless. With five words, she turned that upside down and became not only a pivotal character, but one of the viewpoint characters in the prequel. Both books will be much better than they were before because of the new role this character gave herself. A non-writer wouldn't have understood that. They would have told me to take that line out if it messes things up. 

So, what does this have to do with my subject? My writer friend was talking about another blog post she read by a writer who felt a disconnect with fans and was told - by another writer - that "you're not one of them. Ever." That just makes no sense to me, and having a WRITER say that is a bit disconcerting. I am a fan of Eternity's Price. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be writing it. But, I'm more than that. I am a total fangirl, sometimes. I squee'd like a schoolgirl when Catie and Eli finally had their first kiss. I cried when they broke up. I did more squee'ing when they got back together. I wrote a scene last week that had me bawling. I wrote another scene that had me giggling like a maniac and calling Eli "adorkable". I also fully admit to being slightly in love with Eli and have semi-joked that I would marry him if he wasn't devoted to Catie. (And, ya know, a figment of my own imagination.)

I really think that it falls under the heading of "if you don't care about these people, how can you expect anyone else to?" So, if you aren't a fan of your own writing, how can you expect anyone else to be? I think that we SHOULD fangirl/fanboy about our own stuff a bit. That's the emotional involvement that will eventually suck our readers in and turn them into fans. And if you aren't fangirling/fanboying then why are you writing the thing? If there is nothing in your own book that makes you squeal in delight, or want to burst into tears, or laugh your head off, then why would I want to read this thing?

So, I'm sorry to that writer who gave that quote. But I don't agree with you. Because to me, saying that you aren't a fan of your own books is the same as saying "I write crap whose sole purpose is to make money. I don't care about it, and neither should you. Just buy the thing, I don't care what you do with it after that." And I just don't agree with that. I want my readers to CARE. I want them to laugh, and to cry, and to squeal, and wish they could live in this city and meet these people for real. If you don't want that for your readers, then why are you bothering?

1 comment:

  1. Great post - I'm in Full Agreement mode :) I'm a total fangirl for my own work (most evidenced by the fact that I draw EVERYTHING). What's the point of writing about people you don't adore?