January 6, 2010

Is your story a busted geo storm?

Early when It's All Relative hit the interwebs, I submitted my story to a critique group online on LJ. I won't say any group names, but those who know me know what/who I'm talking about. I have to say that it's probably one of the worst critique groups out there. Why? They aren't nurturing (because they don't like to "coddle") and they like to team up and tear people down. Groups like this have their place for authors who are used to this sort of thing, but it seems to me their rules are misleading and obscure to lure unsuspecting writers

At any rate, someone mentioned that It's All Relative is/was like a busted ford truck and that I should leave it alone and work on something different. I told them that change that ford truck into a geo storm and you have the story of my life--writing and otherwise.
I am a somewhat proud owner of a 1990 geo storm named Susie(named after the cartoon).

Before: This is my mom's car. It was cute, it was functional and it rarely broke down.

After: The car has dents in the side panel, the paint is virtually bleached and striped from its once teal exterior to a combination of silver, rust, and chipping aquamarine paint. The interior is cracked on the door panels, the seat in the back is torn apart and the seats won't go down. The air conditioner doesn't work on one side and the lights have a bad habit of cutting off while I'm driving. The car can hit 80+ miles no problem, but when it goes back down to 50 and below it's starts acting funky. It starts when it wants. It breaks down during extreme heat or cold.
It frequently breaks down and needs to be towed.

We shell out money for repairs. Every time the damn thing breaks down I want to get a new car. I start frantically searching for the car of my short term dreams. I know I can't afford it, but it's such a hassle dealing with an unreliable car.  I can't afford a new car just yet, all I can do is look, save, and try to make the storm look presentable.

What does any of this have to do with writing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (This isn't my actual car, but my car looked just as bad if not worse)

Do you remember what I said early about what someone said about my story, It's All Relative. Your first draft is going to be awful and broken down. It's going to be full of grammatical errors and whatnot. That's okay. No one expects your first draft to be perfect. If it is perfect, you are either a brilliant writer or you are disillusioned.

You can try to get as damn near perfect as you can, that's your duty as a writer. You wouldn't buy a new car that was broken right off the bat right? Learning things like grammar and sentence structure (one thing I admittedly struggle with/is probably obvious) and all that good stuff. That is like the transmission of the car. You wouldn't want to drive without a transmission, right? The engine of the car is your voice. That's what drives your story, pushes your story forward. One thing I learned is that you can have the most interesting characters in the world, but if you can't translate that into words, you're damn near doomed.

IAR is my busted geo storm story. I've been pushing it along and working on it little by little, gathering bits and pieces from different things. The same with Susie. We've bought little pieces here and there and ultimately they will add up until a complete car. I don't have the money to afford a new car. I don't have the time or experience to work on a different story. I've driven better cars, but still wanted my car back. I've tried to write other stories and just went back to the same old story. Maybe you've written other stories but you want to work on your idea? All I can do is drive Susie around and fix her up while I save for a new car. All I can do is working on IAR while getting experience to have the skills to work on one of my better ideas. Maybe all you can do is working on your little story until you finish it and have a story to call your own.

I'm not ashamed for having a busted looking car. It is a little embarrassing pulling up in the car, but laughing about it's flaws. At least I know what's wrong with it, that gives me the chance to fix it. I'm not ashamed of writing about It's All Relative, which is just build up every single idea from an anime I've watched since I was in tenth grade. I'm glad to have something to get around in, it's not the best car, but it's my car. I'm glad I have something to write, it's not the best story, but it's my story and that's a lot more than most people can say.

Do you have any busted stories that you can't bear to let go? Share!

Next: Editing Process.


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