Flashback Sunday

“The first draft of anything is shit.”

–Ernest Hemingway

Well said Hemingway, well said.  I’ve been writing on and off for five years.  I started with fanfiction, and now I’m making the transition to original fiction.  Instead of starting with short stories though, I started out with a novel, and no planning.  You can guess how well that turned out XD    Also, I was a chemistry major in undergrad and went on to get a doctorate in a field of healthcare, so I had pretty much no creative writing experience prior to writing my fanfiction story.  I’m not ashamed of the fact that I couldn’t write very well at all five years ago.  Why should I be?  Who starts out as an amazing writer?  No one.  Certainly some people have more potential than others, but with any art form or sport, you don’t start out as the best.  It takes practice and the determination to improve.  Even Cormac McCarthy improved tremendously from the novels he released early in his career.  Thus proving the point that no matter how good you are there is always room for improvement.

 

An Excerpt From My Fanfiction Story 2009

The context of this excerpt is that Zack’s comatose friend, Cloud, went missing and he’s trying to find him.  They are fugitives on the run from a company called ShinRa

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“The large off-road vehicle made a visible path through the forest so it wasn’t hard for Zack to follow. He had more time to think while he was walking. I wonder who could have taken Cloud, he thought. The only thing they were really running from was Shinra. He considered the possibility of Genesis, but there would have been a trail of black feathers if he was involved. Zack continued on the same line of thought, Genesis doesn’t drive off-road vehicles either. He couldn’t help but snicker at the mental image that thought conjured up. An even more important question, he thought, is why would anyone take Cloud? What did they want with him? He cringed as he was flooded with painful images concerning what could have already happened to Cloud. Still breathless from hours of running, he spoke with the little air he had left in his lungs, “I hope you’re okay Spike.”

 

An Excerpt From My Fanfiction Story 2014

The following excerpt is the thoughts of a semi-comatose man, Cloud, whose delusions are getting stronger.

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Cloaked in the cover of midnight, the demons gave chase, soaring through the air like honed missiles of destruction, their black wings fluttering violently as they flew into the wind.  Fugitives from hell, they came to seek vengeance on those that had imprisoned them.  In preparation for the onslaught, the angels gifted Cloud with the key to heaven.  Gifted?  More like cursed. . .   No one would think to find a divine artifact on a scrawny little nobody, so they sealed it inside his heart, and cast him out of the heavens, his secret redeemable at the end of time.

As a SOLDIER it wasn’t his job to know the details, just do as he was told.  To aid him on his journey, he was given a guardian angel named Zack, a statuesque man possessing the grace of a deity, every step filled with purpose.  He had a mess of black hair and eyes that possessed a certain sense of tranquility, like a clear mountain lake in the winter, frozen over but teeming with life fathoms below.  Strapped to his back was a comically large sword, so immense Cloud wondered how he could stand upright under the weight of it.  Together with his escort, they traveled through desolate forests, parched deserts, and everything in between.   It was harder to hit a moving target, so they did their best to keep walking, one foot in front of the other until they were ready to pass out from exhaustion.  They had managed to make it to an abandoned house, gutted by fire, charred remnants of the past scattered across the floor.  A cracked picture frame caught his eye, much of it burnt beyond recognition.  He picked it up, fingers brushing delicately over what remained of the girl’s profile, chestnut brown hair, scarlet eyes, and a warm smile that appeared to be directed at him, as if he was the treasured recipient of such affection.  For a second there was a spark of recognition, but it faded as quickly as it appeared.  Tossing it to the side, he walked over to the spot where his angel cleared out the debris so he could sleep.

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2 thoughts on “Flashback Sunday

  1. Haha! Love the quote 😉 And absolutely agree…though I disagree that publishing or money is the only incentive to write or edit! Hopefully you feel differently now, or I don’t know why you do this to yourself 🙂 I would never put myself through the highs and lows of writing if it wasn’t my passion, and what gets me through life. I love how you showed the two drafts side by side, it’s brave, and clearly shows how much difference even a few years can make! You can only get better from here 🙂

  2. I’m worried I oversimplified it. There’s a lot more to it than that. You’re completely right. No one should write for money or fame because neither are likely to happen as an author. With my degree I can make $60/per hour, so I’m definitely not writing for money XD I write because it fulfills my heart. It helps give me a purpose in life if that makes sense. The style I use is one that makes me happy even though it’s a bit different, and I know that makes me less popular and marketable. I just wrote that suicide story that will probably never get published because it’s too different, but that’s okay. I have always written for myself first and foremost, and I wanted to write that piece. Think of how much more popular Stephanie Myers is than Faulkner and McCarthy. I’m not comparing myself to them because I’m nowhere near as good, but I know poetic prose is not as popular as plain prose. I mean I spent the past five years writing a story I knew I could never sell or publish just because it made me ridiculously happy. Notice how I used past tense there.

    But I have also talked about the fact that the inspiration left long ago, and it felt like pulling teeth to even write a new chapter. Writing new chapters doesn’t make me happy at this moment in time, and editing it wouldn’t either. In fact, it would remind me of the way the fandom was, not the way it is now. I had to leave because it was a very toxic environment and it was triggering my anorexia. Every review and message I got had to be screened by my friend before I could read it because I was so scared and upset by the bullying. Someone sent me a 2,000 word review this week about how I was not only the scum of the earth, but how my writing was horrible, and I have no business writing anything. I wrote about it here: https://thepaperbutterfly.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/anorexia-triggers/#comments Enough was enough. I wasn’t going to let some bullies make me relapse into anorexia or convince me not to write. I write for myself first and foremost, and that’s why I had to stop writing the story. I was miserable mostly due to the bullying.

    This is the another part to it. Most people that are following my fanfic story have been with me for years, so no one would even read or notice the changes. I actually think most of them don’t even care about the prose. So it wouldn’t change the story that much in their eyes. I spent 5 years on it so far, and it would take me another 2-3 years to edit a 200,000 word story and finish it. The fandom is dying as well, so even if I edited it and made it a masterpiece hardly anyone would ever see it. I guess the point of publishing is just that people see your story. I’ve seen people make the argument that one should write just for yourself, but to me it feels like the story is only alive when other people read it. I want people to really feel something when they read my stories. And no one is feeling anything if no one reads it. I’m not even sure how to put that into words. But I know I’m not the only author who wants people to read their stories, lol.

    Does that make more sense? It’s quite a bit more complicated then the way I made it sound. I’ll take that line out. I don’t want others to misunderstand me. I just didn’t want to go into the long explanation and scare people off from reading my post, lol. I don’t care if I ever make a cent or get formally published. I think the greatest reward is when someone reads something of mine and says that they felt something. I love the writing and editing process. Maybe you can see why I gave up on it. It wasn’t an easy decision, and I have been battling both myself and others to continue to write it. Every other month they attack me, and I can’t do anything, especially because they were trying to convince everyone I was the bully. One of them, who had posted up an excerpt of an old message of mine on her profile, spliced to make it look worse than it was, was favoriting or reviewing stories of anyone I had ever been friends with. I changed my penname to get away from them because I knew they would stalk and harass me here. I have blocked them several times but they keep creating new profiles to get around that.. It really sucked the joy out of my story. I have so many dark and negative feelings associated with it now. It makes me sick to look at it. I’m hoping in time the good memories will be the only lasting. But I can’t write or edit it now. I did make an attempt to edit it back in 2010, but I didn’t get very far. My life was hectic, and editing took as much time as writing a new chapter. It made me happier to just write the story rather than go back and edit it.

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