Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Unproduced projects and the fear of writing what I don't know

So, at the moment I'm going to try to focus on writing those ghost stories I mentioned.  Because the ghost anthology is actually getting near the point where it has enough stories.  (Speaking of which, here's a Ghost story I didn't mention that I wrote to see if I could actually do a story start to finish.)  One of the things that means I'll be putting on hold temporarily is the mermaid story mentioned in the same post.

Its a story in which an apparent male transitions into female she actually was.  Who happens to be a lesbian.

I seem to have a bunch of those stories, to the point that when such a story comes up in my mind I feel like, "Another one?"  And it can sometimes be easy to forget that none of them exist outside of my head.  Except one.  Today someone viewed that story and somehow I think it was by mistake because I don't think they came here looking for modern transgender teenage lesbian Jesus.  (Resurrection.  In the Garden.)

And here's the thing, what holds me back from writing any of these stories isn't what I don't know about Transgender issues (though perhaps it should be) it's what I don't know about everything else.

The story I just mentioned.  If I wrote much more of it it would make immediately clear for all to see how little I know about actual christian theology, and high school, and dating, and relationships, and stuff.

There's another that would show how little I know about indie music, and dating, and relationships, and stuff.

There's another that would show how much I've forgotten about Greek mythology, and how little I know about coed campsites, and dating, and relationships, and stuff.

The mermaid one would show how little I know about sea life, and high school, and dating, and relationships, and stuff.

There's another that would show how much I lack the competence to write Adamsian space adventure.  And demonstrate how little I know about child rearing, and high school, and dating, and relationships, and stuff.

Now it's not exactly the same character jumping up and down in my head saying, "Give me a fucking plot already," but sometimes it feels that way.

And someone at this point might be wondering, "Didn't you go to high school?" yeah, but I wasn't exactly aware and oriented times three.

And there is a temptation to say that, say (second story), writing doesn't need to be held to a high standard because it's basically Twilight if you replace, "Vampires" with "female musicians," and "abusive" with "supportive" and it's not like that kind of thing gets held to any kind of high standard.  I mean it's not as if someone would make a blog devoted to pointing out the flaws in something like... oh, wait.

But the fact that there are indie musicians and christian theologians and people who went to coed camps and marine biologists out there, not to mention people who know how good Adamsian space adventure is supposed to be, always makes me wary of starting a story like this.

It's easy to write Left Behind or Twilight based fiction, there's no fear about not living up to the reality because the reality is kind of crap.  But when I know that I might be taking a shuttle bus with an indie musician two days a week every week for a semester after I write what amounts to a light fantasy where I appropriated their world as the setting, that kind of makes me wary.

And so nothing ever gets written.


For anyone who was wondering plots, story ideas in more detail:

College student reveals to his friends that he's a she, they appear to take it well, decide to spend an upcoming break on a road trip to go see one of the friend's favorite bands and sort of follow it from stop to stop back toward home since that's where it's heading, with main character spending the entire time presenting as female.

At the first see-the-band stop, the friends viciously out main character at a concert, abandon her three states away from home. Band is small time enough it has to clean up venue itself, lead singer finds main character crying on the ground.  When the lead singer gets brought up to speed her first thought is to buy a bus ticket and send protagonist home, but she's not sure of the protagonist's emotional state being up for traveling alone, so instead offers to let her tag along with the band since they're heading that way anyway.

Over the course of the trip protagonist bonds with the whole band, and eventually ends up tentatively starting a relationship with lead singer.

Comes home a bit late (but called ahead to make sure professors knew that it was a transportation problem causing missed classes) finishes off semester presenting as female, goes off with the band full time after that (as technical assistant and glass armonica player) with the intention of coming back to finish college and get a degree at some point in the future.


High school student discovers he, for protagonist still thinks of himself this way at this point though the gender never really fit, is the child of the Greek Goddess of Dew and is quickly inducted into a world of intrigue and whatnot and this popped into my head while watching Percy Jackson and my brain rejecting pretty much every element of it so it might not be the best thought out thing ever.

Two best friends will end up being daughter of Athena, who has mutually shared attraction, and daughter of Aphrodite, who is completely willing to help protagonist try on dresses and not tell anyone about it.

Over the course of the story the many and powerful uses of the ability to create moisture ex nihilo on a surface will be explored, mythological beings will completely fail to understand the concept of gender dysphoria (gods are shapeshifers, they're whatever gender they want) it will turn out that protagonist's problem is that he wasn't born trans, she was born cis and the gender change was to hide her from her late mother's adversaries.  (The Goddess of Dew was crushed in the previous conflict.)

And in final confrontation protagonist will get shapeshifty enough to revert at long last to female form, claim matrilinial decent from Nyx as a way of one upping a boasting son of Zeus, and finally take her place as a female demigod.


Adamsian space thingy, let's see, how did that go?

Boy falls in love with lesbian.  Lesbian falls in love with boy.  "Close my eyes and pretend you're a girl" doesn't work in the least.  Relationship stands no chance in the face of sexuality because, "I love your personality," simply isn't enough for that kind of relationship.  Both get very sad.  Boy builds a space ship powered by golf balls and Coca Cola bottles (the old ones that were green and glass.)

Goes on adventures that would ideally be as funny as those of Ford and Arthur.

Adopts light purple largely humanoid child (about ten years old maybe) with two tails.

More adventures.

Boy and purple girl get stuck inside the event horizon of a black hole (these things happen) Boy panics, despairs.  Purple girl turns on every reality bending system on the ship and wishes upon the star (black hole) nearest them.

Boy wakes up as a girl, back in home town.  Former-Boy finds that this does not bother her in the least.  Forges information to return to high school.  Eventually starts dating lesbian.  Truth comes out, Lesbian thinks it was stupid not to open with it from the beginning.  (Her suggested opening lines: "I'm alive.  I'm back.  I'm hot.")  Former-boy says was worried about messing up second chance.

Eventually they decide to slip the bonds of earth and travel space together.

Find that the ship has embedded itself in the ground not far away, some adventure to get everything necessary to leave, leave earth, eventually reunite with purple girl and form family unit.


Or something like that.


  1. As always, you've come up with some wonderful ideas! I wish my imagination was half as creative as yours. All I ever get are bog-standard adventure plots.

  2. I really must check the Acacia Moon board more often. Clearly I am missing out.

    (I was momentarily surprised that Jane didn't attempt to loophole her way into being impure*, but then I read further and realised it wouldn't have helped anyway.)

    *"Looking at another with lust in your heart" says nothing about lusting after them per se. Perhaps there is nothing sexy about them in and of themself, but something they're doing or saying or whatever evokes a fetish of yours. Hell, with that phrasing you could be thinking about some completely unrelated sexy thing while happening to be looking at them.

    (Problem with the Bible is there are many different phrasings, and the original or as close as you can get is in an unfamiliar language. You think you've won this round of Hunt the Loophole, but the loophole you've found may not actually exist in Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek or whatever that particular bit was first written in.)

    I'm curious as to the wonders that can be accomplished through creative use of dew powers. I could probably come up with at least a couple if I had the time, but I really should be going to bed.

    1. I'm curious as to the wonders that can be accomplished through creative use of dew powers. I could probably come up with at least a couple if I had the time, but I really should be going to bed.

      Well, first off, it's somewhat less restricted than dew, it's water on a surface. That said:

      First use of power: In a training thing ends up in swordfight with much better combatant (daughter of Athena) while she's gloating (always a bad idea) the protagonist wets the rocks/pebbles/whatnot between them and then is an utter jerk to her in order to get her to charge without thinking. Daughter of Athena falls down, protagonist quickly wins fight.*

      Apologizes profusely about being utter jerk.


      For a long time after this protagonist assumes that that's the only possible use. Making distracted people slip and fall. Which is not something at-this-point-he has much use for.

      Daughter of Athena, who ends up friends with him because I-don't-know-why**, tries to convince him that creating something from nothing is an amazing power to have, protagonist can't see beyond, "But it's Dew!"

      Later uses will include:

      Shorting out electrical circuitry, fogging up window of pursuing car, spending hours on end adding water to every surface in room trapped in so that it eventually fills up with water and they can escape out the previously too high to reach opening in the ceiling, drenching an opponent's clothes to slow him down because he too outclasses the protagonist in a trickless fight***, soaking the wings of winged demigods to force them from the sky on the grounds that wet wings don't fly. (Ducks have oil for a reason.)

      That may be all I thought up.


      * It has to be quick because any opportunity to recover whatsoever would hand the fight back to daughter of Athena since protagonist really stands no chance under normal circumstances.

      ** Remember I said this might not be the best thought out thing ever? Yeah.

      *** Speaking of which, son of Zeus --> electrical powers, getting him all wet neutralizes his tricks while leaving protagonist's tricks intact.

  3. I want to read it.

    At least I have "fictional European country in the artificially created multiverse" excuse for frequent unrealisticness. It doesn't always help. I'm trying to do my research - little_details community, google, all that - but some things are rather unresearchable, even (and sometimes, depending on the exact thing(s) I don't know, *especially*) if I stick to "relatively realistic" parts of multiverse.
    I need to know more about postcards. About circus animal health inspectors - what do they do; how would they act in specific situations.* I need to know more about a lot of things. I don't. And little_details have a rule that one should google it first before addressing them - and a lot of times I don't even know *what* to google.

    * Suspiciously healthy and non-mistreated animals in a travelling circus. (They're not ordinary animals, and the circus is not the ordinary circus either.)


  4. Some options (ObIAmNotAWritingCoach: I am not a writing coach):

    Pick one and stick with it. That's the really really hard bit of writing.

    Either go with what you have, and find someone later to run it past, or find someone who knows the stuff you need now and run a chapter-by-chapter outline by them to see if it makes sense (this is for the large-scale "but high school doesn't work like that" problems).

  5. I'd be willing (with the help of my marine biology obsessed 9yo) to beta any sea life related issues you might have. (You should have heard her shouting at The Little Mermaid. "That's not right! [creature x] doesn't do [y]!")


    1. Thank you for the offer and I will try to remember it. That said, I actually think that sea life might become a non-issue in the mermaid story due to length.

      I tend to have an assumed novel length in my head, but I'm now specifically thinking of the mermaid story for inclusion in one of the Acacia Moon anthologies so that makes it a short story, and there's enough to do on land in that story (going to the ocean is the happy ending) that I might not actually have an opportunity to have sea life fail.

  6. I really want to read the Goddess of Dew one. *bounces*

    Also, I am now off to read the things you linked after modern transgender teenage lesbian Jesus, because putting those words in that order makes me go "whaaaat MUST READ."