Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writing about writing about writing

One of the reasons I stopped writing so much about my attempt at a novel is that I hated all the encouragement I got.  It's not as if every bit of praise caused a jab of pain.  Rather, it was weeks or months later that the flattery slowly began to sour on me.

The first problem is that whenever I talk about my novel, it turns into an advertisement.  It gives me all the negative feelings I get from self-advertisement.  But unlike self-advertisement, I don't actually get any sales out of it.  It will be a long time before this novel is published, if at all.

Advertisement has never been my goal.  I just want to dabble a completely different kind of writing from what I'm used to, blather about all the junk that I learn, and vent about petty insecurities (see: this post).  I am not attempting to be deep or impressive.

The second problem is that I feel like people don't get excited about quite the same things I do.

For example, I feel burdened by the pervasive expectation that I am writing sci-fi, fantasy, or YA.  I want to write realistic (or surrealistic) literary fiction, but I can hardly tell what that means, or how it might be different from more popular genres.  I feel disconnected from most online conversations about writing, because I never know when the ideas that float around really pertain to what I'm trying to do.  I am used to living on the long tail of culture, but this is one instance when it really starts to grate, and I start ranting about geek cultural hegemony.

And people aren't sold on my novel, they're just sold on the premise.  In particular, readers of The Asexual Agenda were excited that I would have an asexual character.  This is understandable, since clear asexual characters are extremely rare in fiction, and indeed I wouldn't write asexual characters in if I didn't find the idea exciting myself.

But my mind already skips ahead to a future era.  Some day, there will be lots of ace characters in every conceivable medium and genre.  And 90% of everything will be crap.  I want judgmentalism, discernment.  I want stories that are different, even in the hypothetical world where there are lots of things to be different from.  I want to talk about what happens in the stories, not just the fact that the stories exist.