lesley_hastings: The words "Lesley Hastings" on a parchment background (Default)
[personal profile] lesley_hastings
I've started writing a new story, set in the same 'verse, with the same characters as the short story I just finished. I have a basic plot outline, and I think that, if I manage to keep going with it, this could end up novel-length.

So far, I've really been enjoying working on it. I'm enjoying spending time with these characters. I'm learning about them -- they're revealing new things about themselves to me that I didn't originally plan, but just work in perfectly with what I've already planned. Or sometimes those new things don't work in perfectly, and I have to change things to accomodate this new information. Feeling this thing coming to life is great, and that's something I'll have even if no one ever reads the story.

However, at some point, I DO want people to read this story, and that is where all the self-doubt creeps in. I'm under no illusions that what I'm writing will be a great work of literature. If the short story that introduces this world gets published in the Dreamspinner anthology, then I will probably try to submit this story to Dreamspinner too. However, I am not counting on that happening, and if that's the case, I want to do something akin to the Extribulum process that [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge uses when producing his original fiction -- that is, putting the work up here on my journal, asking my readers to provide concrit and then edit with that concrit in mind -- with a view to eventual self publishing, if everything all works out.

The thing is, I have this nagging little voice in the back of my head telling me that I don't have the right to do that. After all, my fanfiction isn't wildly popular. It's appreciated by a small core group in one or two fandoms, and I don't think it's bad at all -- but I'm hardly one of the writers that one HAS to read in order to feel at home in my particular fandoms. And the reason that that core group of people reads my fic is because I'm building on something that other people have created -- I'm asking them to take a chance on an extension of something that they're already familiar with. But with original fiction -- I'm asking them to take a chance on something that doesn't have that basic groundwork already in place.

Now, of course, with ANY fiction, we're always building on things that other people have done; all fiction exists in an intertextual space. And, indeed, this story I'm working on now was originally something that I intended to write as an AU Torchwood story -- although I abandoned that idea when I realised that the characters were doing their own things. This story didn't WANT to be limited by a broader canon, and it's a better story for that. But at the same time -- it makes asking people to read this story a completely different thing. There's less in the way of familiar territory. If I ask people to read this, I'm asking them to invest their time in something that's less certain, something that isn't limited by the boundaries that are present when they read my fanfiction.

And this nagging voice inside my head? This voice tells me that I shouldn't be asking people to do that. It's telling me that I'll look silly for making the presumption that anyone would want to take the time to review my work, to offer criticism ... let alone consider buying a published copy of anything. Even now, I'm feeling doubt about whether or not I should post this -- but I WILL post it. And I will post my fiction here too. (If not the story I'm working on now, then something else.)

While I know that everyone experiences self-doubt, I have the feeling that this sense of presumptuousness in WANTING to put one's work out there is something that bothers a lot of women in particular, due to the fear of appearing arrogant. There is, I suppose, a certain degree of arrogance in putting any of one's work out there, and I need to learn not to fear that.

After all, if I fail, I've lost nothing.

Date: 2010-07-24 03:09 pm (UTC)
lorannah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lorannah
Hey,

I don't comment nearly as much as I should to you, but thought I would chime in here.

Firstly, I know exactly what you mean - I've been struggling with the idea of how to get concrit on my original stories for the past few months - dreamwidth seems a great opportunity to do that, in one form or another - but that sense of presumptuousness, definitely got that, along with the overwhelming fear that no one would be interested whatsoever.

However, I also thing you're absolutely entitled to post your stories here and I'd certainly be interested in reading them. Particularly as I love your writing but find myself reading a lot less Torchwood stuff nowadays - and that only leaves a few fandoms we share. So original stuff would be awesome. :D

The other thing that's been worrying me is if you post them to a public space like that where you stand if you want to get published. From what I've read a lot of places won't take things that have been pre-published - possibly if it's locked down that would be a different matter, but I'm not informed enough about any of this to actually know.

Whups, just realised I've not gotten round to friending this journal yet. Better fix that.

Date: 2010-07-25 07:51 am (UTC)
lorannah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lorannah
Thanks, that's good to know.

Mostly I write, because when I don't I tend to go somewhat crazy, it's tied weirdly together with my depression, and I do enjoy it most of the time. Being published would be an awesome cherry on top, but yeah - if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

I'm hoping to have one of my stories finished in the next couple of months, so I might start posting some of it then - especially as concrit is a thing of beauty. I'll let you know.

Date: 2010-07-24 06:18 pm (UTC)
citrinesunset: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citrinesunset
For what it's worth, I'm always intrigued about reading fanfic writers' original stories. And a lot of the writers I like in fandom I like not just because they've written fannish things that I enjoy, but also because I generally like their writing style and think they're good writers. Can't promise good concrit, though. That's always hard for me to give, moreso with original fic than fanfic.

I do get what you mean about presumptuousness. With fanfic, we can assume we already have something people might be interested in. With original fic, yeah, that can feel presumptuous. Though, personally, I think that's a common feeling among writers in general, to some extent.

Think of it this way -- you'd be posting to allow people to read/critique at their own leisure/desire. People aren't going to read unless they're interested in the first place.

Date: 2010-07-25 01:35 am (UTC)
citrinesunset: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citrinesunset
Thanks! I've been toying with the idea of putting up some original stuff once I get a couple of my projects done. I worry a little about not being able to publish because I posted online, but that doesn't seem like much of an issue, particularly if stuff isn't posted in its entirety or is under a cut. And I'm not too concerned about traditional publishing these days, anyway.

I miss having readers and support for my original writing. I used to be in a couple online critique groups, but they weren't good fits for me. I may have consider doing like you're planning and see if I get any bites.

Date: 2010-07-25 05:16 am (UTC)
asimaiyat: If you're in trouble, and no one else can help, and you can find them, maybe you can hire Leverage! (w/ whole team) (Default)
From: [personal profile] asimaiyat
I really know what you mean about that "presumptuous" feeling. Like "why would anyone want to read something that came out of MY head?" But every writer starts from around there, I think, and a lot of them find that actually lots of people are interested. And even if not, the process of getting it out of your head is worth a lot.

I'm excited to read your original writing!

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