I adore the first season of Stranger Things.
I wasn’t looking forward to season 3. WAY too much time had passed since season 2, and I had stopped watching Netflix entirely ever since they killed member reviews (I like to have an idea of what I’m getting myself into, especially when the kids are around (which is almost always)). But, as my husband and I were browsing through the new releases on our Nintendo Switch, we saw that a game had been based on season 3, and we asked ourselves, ‘When was that supposed to come out anyway?’
Apparently, July 4th, so we slogged our way through it. ‘Slogged’ is really the best word, since season 3 was terrible.
The general overview is that the characters were turned into bland props, all of the quirky nerdiness that made the show so appealing in the first season was gone entirely, and there was a heck of a lot more cussing all around in lieu of intelligent dialogue. Instead of existential Lovecraftian horror, the main focus was on everyone breaking up with each other for the sake of relationship drama. Gag me.
There are a gazillion blogs out there that are all to eager to tell you how to write, but I am not one of them.
My philosophy boils down to: just do it.
Remember, 50 Shades of Grey was a mega fad, despite the rather unnerving tie worn by Mr Grey in the first chapter. Obviously, the world can be forgiving.
So who cares about rules? Just write, rewrite, edit, and nitpick, then let it out into the wild. Maybe something will happen, maybe not. The important part is creating something that you enjoy.
In real life, I’m a 30-something stay-at-home mom with small children. I always laugh whenever the neighbors call me a hippie, because I’ve been to Earth Haven and I can’t say that I had an ounce in common with anyone there, but that’s the identity I’ve been given: the neighborhood hippie. I guess that the fact that I’ve been to a place called Earth Haven puts me closer to hippy-ism than anyone else around here.
While I get along great with the ex-bikers, sometimes I wish that I had a friend who was another 30-something mom with small children. There are a few of them around here too, but they are, you know, normal.
Sometimes I think that I ought to try being normal too, so they’ll like me and talk to me.
But that would mean leggings, memberships, and shoes.
You haven’t truly lived until you’ve stepped on a dead mouse barefoot. Now that’s a sensation that doesn’t wash away.
And I really like my bright yellow gaucho pants.
Stargirl was required reading in middle school. We all scoffed at it, dismissing it as another one of those human interest novels that our teachers always seemed to think would ease the trials of being a teenager. But now I think back on it and remind myself, being normal doesn’t make you happy. Stargirl tried it, and she was miserable. So there you have it, I had to grow up before I appreciated the message.
Gaucho pants and bare feet forever, even if that leaves me with only ex-bikers and fictional characters to chat with.
The sequel, Love, Stargirl came out after I graduated, so on a lark I decided to read it now as an adult. When the book mentioned someone giving out donuts to trick-or-treaters, it hit me why we didn’t like the original as teens, and it had nothing to do with individualism or peer-pressure: the author just didn’t know crap about Millennials. The Stargirl books are every bit as much of deluded fantasies as the tripe I write, minus the gratuitous Mary Sue-ing.
Because what’s the point in fantasizing if you don’t go all out?
Also, apparently peer-pressure fiction is a recognized genre. I feel bad for teens.
At this point, I suppose that I’ve been writing for long enough that I tend to feel a bit of relief when I chop up and rewrite entire chapters during the editing process. I don’t have the same emotional attachment to words that I used to have when I was younger. I don’t think about the time and energy that was initially invested in writing them anymore — it’s all part of the process.
Instead, I care more about telling the story the way it wants to be told.
But I sure remember the angst I used to feel.
Err, sort of . . .
Frankly, this quote frightens me with the prospect that there are people out there who are so boring that they’d only be able to write one book about the life they’ve lived. Couldn’t they at least turn it into a trilogy?
When we’re advised to “write from experience,” we aren’t intended to compose a series of personal anecdotes with stand-in characters for all the people we know. It’s more that if you’ve never been in love, then you probably aren’t going to make a convincing romance author.
Likewise, if you know what it feels like to be betrayed, then you can write a beautiful and heart wrenching portrayal of betrayal.
You never really know how you’re going to react to something until it’s actually happening.
Writers can take their secret thoughts and emotions — the deep and sometimes scary things that are never shared out loud — and transpose them onto different situations and characters. Maybe you’ve never been held hostage at gunpoint, but there was a time when you felt terrified and helpless, and that’s all the foundation you need to write that story.