Sometimes I write and I’m in love with the plot twists. I laugh at the dialogue I pulled off, and I binge on all the emotions it resurrects. I have to say, with my current story, the YA Fantasy I’m working on, I feel a bit differently. I’m not getting the jitters to reread, or riding high on glorious feelings.
I didn’t understand why until I was ruminating on what the main character goes through in the book. That’s when I realized my issue. The story is a bit too on the nose for me.
A bit of background: this has been a rough year for my writing career. While a large part of me wants to hide behind pretending everything’s okay, it’s been rough. Rejections, letdowns, and even a press closure hampering every turn. Each attempt I make to reach out, I feel like I take ten paces backwards. Not that it’s all been doom and gloom–I love my life, I love my friends and family, I love all the new writers I’m meeting, and I’m so grateful for the publishers that have taken a chance on me with different pieces.
Still, as I’m sure all your other artist-folk can empathize, the up and downs of the field can batter you like a summer storm. So, I think the reason I feel so off with this story is due to how much of my own feelings of failure and defeat I poured into Bailey. The girl starts out full of spitfire and ambition, and as the story progresses, she just gets shit upon, continuously. She loses her boyfriend, gets kicked out, has her future stolen away, all because she’s clinging to what she believes is true and right.
And goddamn, isn’t that the case? It hurts my heart just to think about it, and I’ll be honest, writing it was no peach sundae.
But I think that’s the reason I need to make it to the finish line. To where hope and dream exist and possibilities are boundless. Because I’m no George R.R. Martin–I respect the man’s talent, but I can’t write that level of despair without losing myself there. I write of adventure, of promise, and hope. I write because I believe in people, and even if it seems naive, I believe with enough determination and effort, we can change our futures.