I am really annoyed at writing right now so this is basically just a rant, but maybe you’ll find it helpful, or at least you can share your frustration with me.
Writing is hard okay. It can be so difficult.
I recently finished Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, and that series fills me with a burning desire to write something as amazing as that. The only problem is I am a perfectionist and nothing seems good enough. No idea seems like it will ever be as unique or magical as that. And as much as I
want need to take a step back and just do something else (namely study for my exams which are happening as we speak) this yearn to write won’t stop bugging me.
I just want to be able to string words together in an amazing fashion, to spin a magical world. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet because I need to plot first. And it seems like every time I think I’m making progress I take myself back to step one because it just isn’t good enough. How do I create the magic that is the greywaren’s powers?? The answer is I don’t. I can’t. That’s such a unique idea. Only… it isn’t.
I actually did some research and this is an idea that has been written before, it’s something that people have claimed to be able to do for ages. So technically I could write it into my story, I just couldn’t expect people to take said story as unique. Although considering I haven’t finished a novel because I always get stuck in the middle I think being taking seriously is pretty low on my list of priorities.
But back to ranting
I have two key problems with writing. Firstly I have too high standards for my own ideas. I want them to be impressive and exciting and new. I want them to hold my own interest and stand up to tests of rationality. Only, I write fantasy, so these things are never going to happen. Only, whenever I am writing fantasy elements I get caught up in how fake it seems, but if I try to write real life I find it too boring. I can’t bring myself to write fae or vampires or demons because it seems over done and unrealistic. But magic isn’t about doing something new, it’s about doing it in a new way. I really need to get that into my head.
Secondly, I am a character person. I have a bunch of ideas for characters and their relations to each other, but none of these have any plot and few of them have a setting. I struggle to make a plot out of my characters because I want the book to be more than just about a girl trying to get a sandwich or get into a certain collage, but then I end up over complicating things and getting stuck in a web of my own plot holes.
I’m just really annoyed. I just want to have a clear novel idea that is unique and special. Unfortunately I think for now I’m going to have to distance myself from that perfectionistic voice and write something cliche and a little bit boring just so I can finish writing something and learn about how I write.
So for this current idea, I want it to be a bit magical (like the raven cycle) but to the extent that there is a full hidden world like in Harry Potter. I want it to have cool and unique and kind of mystical magic, but I don’t want it to be psychics or lay lines. I am playing with the idea of dragons, but I don’t know how that would tie into the story.
I also need to have a tangible goal for my characters, e.g. in The Raven Cycle Gansey wants to find a welsh king who is rumored to be buried in the area. That’s a fine motivation, but it isn’t a core part of the plot because I imagine it would be a lot of research and annoyed thinking. The majority of this series is just about the characters, and then external things happen and they have to react. I just need to figure out what those external things can be.
I guess one of the other possibilities would be to take the advice I have given to other people, which is steal one (or two) elements of a book series you like. In my case, I’d steal the premise and or setting of another series and weave it into my characters to see how that turned out.
Obviously I would never be able to publish it, but it would stop me from thinking that my ideas were never good enough because it wouldn’t be fully my idea. It would basically be fan fiction, which is why I am so tentative to do it… but I am just so angry right now at my lack of full ideas that I am seriously considering it.