Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Do you remember when I was talking about how difficult it was to blog amidst all the odd college-y things that seem to crop up when you least expect them to? Well, I’m going to have to do a deep, humiliated blush and admit that those things have definitely gotten the better of me this semester. I love working on Scandaroona. And yet I don’t seem to have the kind of time for it that it really needs in order to be what I want.
Ultimately, I think that’s okay. Because I’m a college student, and I just had fondue with friends at my favorite coffee-shop and worked on Fairy Tale #2 (no, I’m not telling), and before that I was in New York City listening to my favorite author speak*, and before that I was studying for a rather ugly History of Ancient Israel test, and before that I was dancing around the house with my sister, and all of those things add up to something like a life outside the Blog, and I don’t think it’s terrible that I’ve been living it. But I enjoy my Blog-world enough that I don’t want to lose it just yet. I’m just… going to be posting less often.
So here’s what (I think) is going to happen.
(Continued after the jump.)
Fairy Tale #1 ain’t the problem. That thing’s been finished since early August — all that’s needed are a few poor Libby-illustrations and the last two sections are set to go. But Scandareviews? I love them dearly, but they take absolute ages. I don’t know when I’ll have time to do another one, let alone doing the weekly reviews I’d hoped I could write. I’ve got the whole Grimm’s book with me in my dorm, but reading them and analyzing them and doing the required research is another thing altogether.
So the next set of posts are probably going to be a wrap-up of “The Three Men and the Stream”. But I don’t believe Scandareviews are dead just yet — they’re much too much fun for that — so do expect something at some point. I just don’t know when.
As for Fairy Tale #2, I can’t give a precise date when that one will be done, either. #1 took me about six months to write, but I wasn’t working on it on its own — I did some other stuff during that time and didn’t make it a priority until somewhere around mid-June. Time aside, though, my biggest challenge with it is definitely plot structure.
Some wise author somewhere — I think it might have been Patricia C. Wrede — once said that writers are normally good at plot, characters, or settings — just one out of the three — and so there‘s always something that can be worked on. And I have to say that plot doesn’t come naturally to me. My instinct is to turn everything into a mystery and to leave off understanding what the mystery is until halfway through, after which the story is often too mixed-up to salvage.
As I’ve gotten older I’m taming the Plot Beast slightly better, but it frustrates me ridiculously that there don’t seem to be many resources as to HOW TO LEARN IT. Why is that? Why do writing classes talk about prose and technique and character and so often ignore plot completely?
I know people go on about outlining, but I’m still trying to find a way to outline that works for me. I can’t just write something out in the beginning; things become stagnant and boring if I do that, and the plot always veers off-course anyway. But if I don’t outline somewhere around the beginning-middle, the story falls apart at the point just before the climax, and I’m sick of that happening. So I’m trying to find a happy medium, and when you’re writing something as structure-dependent as a fairy tale, all of this becomes even more important than it normally would be.
This story doesn’t involve wishes in the same way that Fairy Tale #1 does — I don’t have natural consequences to go off of in this case, at least not yet. So I need to analyze what the characters want and how they’re going to get it and where the tension will lie, and do all of this in a way that’s simple and not overblown, because that’s what fairy tales require. It’s difficult. I’m nineteen years old; I don’t have the kind of experience that a lot of writers have. I put a stupid amount of pressure on myself and get frustrated when it doesn’t work.
But hey; there’s also a lot of fun to be had in the trying. And that’s what’s important, isn’t it? I’m running around campus and eating fondue and trying to corral the Evil Plot Beast in my spare time. And at least for the sake of now, I’m pretty content doing it.**
*I don’t want to talk about that on the Blog because I’m not sure I can express the gravity of it to the Internet at large. But it was wonderful and it happened two days ago and I’m still working out what to do with the fact that it happened. There; that’s as much as I’m going to say! (Although if you actually know me, you’ve probably heard a lot more than that about it. If you’re one of those people, I’m sorry. ;))
**I’m also doing this other thing with some supremely talented people from my college. If you’re interested, you can check out Whence & Whither by clicking here — I’m really, really proud of everyone involved; I think it’s going to be awesome.