I realised something this week. Despite writing a weekly post for the last ten weeks (that long already!), I have yet to discuss the topic perhaps closest to my heart; my writing. Anyone who has even the vaguest idea of who I am knows that I am obsessed with writing. I’ve written a novel which I’m currently trying to edit which I find almost impossible to explain and I’m studying how to become a better writer at University. However, very few of you know what I actually write about, what inspires me or why I chose to be a writer in the first place. That is what this post aims to correct.
I’ve always been writing. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t. When I was younger, my writing took a different shape than it does now. These early writing projects were mainly about research into whatever it was I was obsessing over at the time. I wrote a little pamphlet about frogs once and created a whole binder about Roald Dahl (which I still have floating around in my room). It was the information that I was obsessed with. I had to learn everything there was to know about it, and if I could share that with people, then it was great and I really felt like I was doing something right.
Even back then, I did some fiction stories. There was one about an old lady with super powers (inspired by a friendly neighbour who encouraged me to write more) and another about an evil Easter bunny. In fact, it was that story that eventually would see the downfall in my confidence.
In my first year of high school, there was a book club run by a priest where we were encouraged to talk about whatever we were reading at the time and maybe bring in some of our writing. Well, because I’d had this Easter bunny idea floating around for a while I decided to write it down and expand it. Now, this story was insane. It was about a criminal who was dressed as an Easter bunny and placed eggs all over the globe. The eggs were actually bombs and they exploded, destroying the entire planet. Somehow, several people managed to survive and floated in space, including the criminal who was now fused with the Easter Bunny costume. He ended up with this woman and the two of them found themselves in a strange, idyllic place. Eventually, they worked out it was Heaven and they decided to visit God for some reason. However, upon reaching God, they discovered that it wasn’t actually God; it was the Devil, who was pretending to be God. I was deeply impressed with this story and took it along to the book club. Run by a priest.
You cannot imagine how awkward this was. I was young and naïve and had no idea what I had done. Basically, I’d written a piece about the fact that we were all worshipping Satan who was just pretending to be God. Now I look back on it, it seems incredibly subversive for a 13 year old to write, quite challenging to society’s expectations. Of course, back then, the priest shut down the story and told everyone that we were not to bring any more writings into the club. So that was the end of that. My confidence was shattered and for almost two years, I didn’t write anything else.
Instead, I became obsessed with television shows, particularly Doctor Who (which I stumbled upon one day, but that’s another story). However, just because I wasn’t writing, didn’t mean I wasn’t creating. Every day, as I walked to school, I used to imagine that I was watching this great TV show with a regular cast of characters and unbelievable twists. Each day, I would expand on the story, creating backstories and leaving myself on a cliffhanger until the next day (which I needed to be able to figure out how the hell I was going to get my characters out of this impossible situation). There were days when I would get depressed because I had killed off one of my ‘characters’, before I eventually either moved on or found a way to resurrect them. Basically, I lived in my own little world. I was a fairly isolated child and if I didn’t have any real friends, then I could invent my own. While that sounds sad, it wasn’t, because I slowly developed a very complicated and (if I say so myself) wonderfully developed story, and it was all mine. This great secret.
Occasionally, I would write things down, for assignments and stuff, but I never thought about taking it further, until one day, I was talking to my counsellor and told her about the story. I told her some of the details of these key moments and characters and she was shocked as to how vivid my recollection of them was. She encouraged me to write it down, because I had enthralled her.
Within a few months, I had started doing just that. The story changed considerably from what I had told myself as I was walking to school every day, as new characters were introduced and the story fleshed out. Some things were removed completely because I realised I had lifted them wholesale from the episode of Doctor Who I’d watched the week before. And as I wrote I knew this is what I wanted to do, what I needed to do.
Even in high school, I used to get very, very depressed (of the level we saw last week, but usually about once a week or at its worst, once a day) and there were many times I contemplated killing myself. One day, I remember my friend was really concerned about me and didn’t want me to go home by myself, because he really thought I might off myself. However, that day I said to him that I wouldn’t, I never would. And he asked me why. I replied, because I still have a story to tell. And that’s the reason I use to stop hurting myself now. When I sense I’m getting really depressed, I think wait, you still have a story to tell. That’s why last week was so rare and painful for me. Because I’m not usually like that, not anymore. Not after I have all my friends around me to support me and critique my writing.
For example, the other day, one of my best friends said to me that I used too much telling in my writing and not enough showing. Since then, I’ve realised the accuracy of the statement and have actively gone about changing it, to become a better writer.
However, a question has presented itself here that I must address. What if I never get the chance to tell the story? What if it’s never published? What then? Well, I’m not really sure. There are some nights I lay awake and think about what I’ll do if my writing doesn’t succeed and I become terrified. But later, I look back and think one of two things. One, while my writing may be far from publishable at the moment, I am working on it. Two, even if my writing is never good enough, I am sure I will find what I’m supposed to do at the right time. Weirdly enough, I’m far more confident about my writing than I am about my relationships, but whatever. It’s who I am and I have to learn to embrace that.
Oddly enough, doing this post has helped remind me why I write in the first place; because the world might want to hear what I have to say and that’s not a bad thing. I have to work hard to get better at making the means to the message clearer, but I’ve always thought that someone out there would really benefit from hearing my story, be it as a comforting hey, someone else there thinks like you, or as a bitch slap to those who need it, even if I am just writing a silly science-fiction story.
And on that subject, here I present to you the first synopsis of my first novel, A Beautiful Nightmare: The Fall (title is likely to change);
In the far future, a community is set up to raise a child with mysterious and powerful origins as well as to combat rising tensions in the Universe. The community of less than 3000 is housed in a multi-level complex within a hollowed out green-skinned robot body. Unable to look after the child themselves, a group called the Unit (who had discovered the child) transport the body back to the 90s to be raised by a human couple. As they wait for the child to grow up, community head Leader grows increasingly sadistic and violent, becoming a dictator for over 15 years. The citizens are powerless to rise up against him and so, embrace an ancient prophecy which predicts that the child they are waiting for, known as the Prophesised One, will cause the fall of Leader upon his arrival. However, when the day comes and the Prophesised One arrives, how will they react when they learn that their saviour is a stroppy, uninterested and depressed 18 year old who is far from willing to commit murder? The young man must learn the terrible secrets of the Body if he ever hopes to defeat Leader and save those who are terrorised by him.
It’s far from an ideal synopsis, but it sums up some of the key points. So, that’s what my novels about, this kid who’s set up to be a god-like figure, who’s actually just a normal teenager. It’s like if Jesus reappeared today and was a knob. So, yeah, maybe I like to think I’m still a bit subversive. See you next week.
The Playlist Of 2 Apr – 8 AprThe Broken Ones (Dia Frampton)
Interesting (Maria Mena)*
*All the songs I listened to a lot this week were part of last week’s playlist
The Top 8 Films Of 2 Apr – 8 AprThe Silence Of The Lambs
The Devil’s Backbone
Muppets Most Wanted
This Is Spinal Tap
The Flowers Of War
Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat
PS. Found this while I was looking for relevant writing images. So apt.