Sunday, June 3, 2018

The shape of things to come (one hopes)

So, everyone who reads this probably knows most of how things currently are, though I still haven't written up a post on the bad news I got on the 16th of last month (which left my emotions in shambles and I don't expect to fully recover from any time soon.)

I'm stressed out, I'm behind on bills by a huge amount (though, I believe, still under a thousand dollars), my depression is coming out to play way too much, and I'm not writing.

That last bit is a really huge deal for me.  Being a storyteller is a part of who I am and when I can't do that it's like part of me is missing.  It's frustrating but that's such a small part of it.  I'm . . . listless, languishing without direction or purpose.  It's like I'm not . . . anything.  I can't put it into words, really.  Which is kind of fucked up given I'm a writer.

And I've been stuck in these fucking doldrums for ages.

So, I have the barest outline of something that might possibly be part of a plan.

Basically, I'm going to try setting everything to easy mode, making full use of cheat codes, and hoping that success will lead to more success, good feelings, getting back into the flow, and such, with the result that at some point I'll be able to function at the higher difficulty levels again

I'm going to go back to my internet roots, sort of, and just do the sort of rewrites and whatnot that no reasonable person would ever publish outside of the comment section.  And then I'm going to publish them here.

I got my start taking scenes from Left Behind and later Twilight, because I was following Fred Clark's decon of the first and Ana Mardoll's decon of the second.  I'm not doing either of those things right now.  (For different reasons: I've fallen out of reading Fred , though I really ought to start again; Ana isn't doing her Twilight decon anymore.)

Things like Skewed Slightly to the Left and Edith and Ben, respectively, are definitely not easy mode things.  Easy mode isn't crafting a coherent narrative of a high quality in opposition to an existing incoherent narrative of low quality, it's more, "Well I would have done this, this, and this differently, which results in this, which is honestly without redeeming characteristics of any kind, but it is at least different from what we all started with."

Easy mode is somewhere between cutting and pasting and adaptation.  A bit more than editing, vaguely related to paraphrasing (they're second cousins) and . . . it's the opposite of being about skill or craft.  (Or originality.)

But, in theory, it's really fucking easy and so should allow words to flow again, and once that starts the hope is that I can then switch back over to the other stuff.

So, as the title of this post suggests, I have some idea of what path this might lead us down.

As noted, I'm not following a decon of Twilight or Left Behind right now.  Nor anything else.

Unfortunately for anyone who is following me, at the moment I've mostly been reading a very specific subgenre of Equestria Girls fanfiction.  Which means that immediate results will probably be alternate versions of fan conceptions of hugely overblown high school angst centered on a unicorn in human form.


For reasons that I don't really understand when my depression flares up I tend to fixate on cartoon fanfiction.  Fighting the fixation would take effort that I already don't have and threaten make the "Start writing again" plan fail before it even got started.

That said, . . . one last section:

If the goal is to use really easy stuff to help me get to a place where I can do the normal stuff (and perhaps even the hard stuff), and it is, then the plan should eventually include things no longer being governed by a given fixation, which it does.

Returning to wholly original stories is probably the last step simply because there's absolutely no scaffold to hold me up there, before that, though, if things go well there ought to be a point where I'm not stuck on this one narrow topic.  Of course I plan to return to things like Twilight and Left Behind and Narnia, but I was also thinking that maybe I should branch out into new areas.

The Horse and His Boy (the Narnia book Ana just finished her decon of) was heavily inspired by One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) which is basically an anthology.  A bunch of short stories that can be grabbed for free online because of numerous public domain English translation.  That's sort of the perfect thing for someone who's trying to find her voice again by retelling existing stories in her own accent.

It occurs to me that that أَلْف لَيْلَة وَلَيْلَة is hardly the only collection of short fiction that's easily available for free online (nor does short fiction need to be in collections), and so perhaps people might possibly have recommendations for things I might do rewrites of when I've left the "just going with the flow of the current fixation" stage.

If so, please do share these recommendations, though I make no promises about anything.  It's by no means sure that this plan, such as it is a plan, will actually work.  How things go three or four stages down the line is equally unclear.

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