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FFC #50 - Facing the Beast

Posted May 2nd, 2020 at 02:23 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #50

When I look back at what I've written over the years, it becomes clear to me that I've known what I'm doing, while having no idea what I'm doing.

Take Dilmir. I had no idea what I was doing. I had been captured by the setting and story of Dilmir, and just wanted to write it. I barely had an inkling of what development meant at the time, and structure was not even present in my thinking. By all rights, Dilmir should have failed, especially given some of the paths I was considering taking the story at the time.

But Dilmir worked (or at least I feel it did ). As I wrote it, I somehow knew what ideas would work for it and what ideas would make it worse. And with no knowledge of structure, it somehow followed the 3-act structure practically to the letter.

There were some minor deviations. For example, I'm fairly certain the midpoint happened off-screen. *internal shudder* But still, the structure was there.

I blame that on a large portion of my homeschooled education being done through historical fiction, thus giving me an unconscious sense of how a story went together. But that's not the point.

The point is, I know what I'm doing... even if I don't.

Studying how novels are put together has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because I no longer stumble around in the dark, and feel confident in knowing what every part of my writing does. A curse, because I have come to rely on it, and now doubt my stories will turn out okay if I just wing it. Despite having done nothing BUT winging it in the past. This reliance is all good... unless there's one piece I don't understand. Which is where I have found myself for some time now.

It's really that doubt, more than anything else, which has kept me from writing, both before and after Utgar. I could write Utgar because I felt confident in the story. But the rest of the time, the rational side of my mind was finding problems and issues with every story my creative side postulated. Over and over again.

And it's still happening. I'm close, closer than I've ever been to a full understanding of structure. I have at least somewhat conquered one great enemy: the stakes. But one remains: the second act.

But even as I research, read, and ask advice, I can't help but wonder if the second act is really what's holding me back. Is it a complete and total understanding of structure which I require? Or do I need to relearn what I knew - and didn't know - when I wrote Dilmir? How to just write, and trust that the story will work? Can I even do that anymore, knowing now what I know about the inner workings of stories?

I can't say.

Total Comments 5


TheAverageFan's Avatar
How to just write, and trust that the story will work?
Ah yes, the great spark that always eludes my grasp like an adult trying to recapture their youth. Perhaps there is something to be said for overthinking things, when honestly even a child can understand what makes a great story just by seeing it done enough times without being able to comprehend or quantify the terms and working parts

Posted May 2nd, 2020 at 10:43 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
I've always said that writers should always be reading. Only now am I beginning to fully understand why, and just how important constantly absorbing good books can be.

Maybe I can absorb how to handle Act II?

Posted May 3rd, 2020 at 01:09 AM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
TheAverageFan's Avatar
Right now I am absorbing Dune. No better time for reading, being cooped up all day I suppose.

Posted May 3rd, 2020 at 01:54 AM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
I'm absorbing Bridge to Terabithia. Short and contains a simple and clear character arc which I can study.

Never read Dune, although I've heard it mentioned before. Would you recommend it?

Posted May 3rd, 2020 at 03:36 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
TheAverageFan's Avatar
Bridge to Terabithia is great.

Dune is complicated. It's supposedly the greatest Sci-Fi series ever written. The worldbuilding in it is immense in scope and complexity, but the writing style itself is simplistic enough to follow with relative ease. It helps that I've seen the David Lynch movie so I more or less know the basics of the plot in advance, same thing that made reading It feel less monumental.

Posted May 4th, 2020 at 01:24 AM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
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