Friday, May 27, 2011

Document 1

This line is devoid of all things necessary or interesting.

That's what most of my documents currently look like. Now, to some people it's easy to come up with story topics. Did JRR Tolkien look at a tree branch and his wedding ring and think "Gee, I could write a story about a ring with evil powers and some Hobbits who have to bring it to a place called Mordor, and maybe I'll throw some giant trees called Ents in just for the hell of it." I suppose we'll never know.

Now, obviously I'm oversimplifying the amazingness that is Lord of the Rings, but then again, maybe I'm not. Let's go delve fairly deep into some books, shall we?

I loved this book for a really long time. The idea of giant dragons and evil villains called Shades and eleves and stuff is really cool. But isn't the idea of a simple boy who works on a farm quite cliche?

What I'm saying is it's too obvious. You know what's going to happen from the moment you open the book. You know that the poor misunderstood boy will find the poor little dragon, and Brom will die and Murtagh will be emo forever and there's nothing you can do about it.

I can't deal with the idea of writing something like that. That's why John Green is so amazing. I don't know how he does it. He just writes about things that are important to him, and at the same time, are so different that you can't help but applaud him for his work.

But I envy him so much. Not his passion, because I'm at my happiest when I'm reading or writing. That being said, I went to the contact page of his website, where upon I read the following statement: "In a related story that may make me seem like a complete asshat, I do not respond to emails."

Now, having every ounce of my writing spirit crushed, I quickly backspaced the carefully worded e-mail I'd been formulating. It went something like: "Dear John Green. I appreciate everything you do and everything you write, your stories are so inspirational, but I have to ask: how do you get over the hump of writer's block? Do you have any magical wizardly secrets to ease my aching brain and help me get the jump start I need to get my brain back into writers mode?"

But that sounds pushy. The actual e-mail contained more fluff and praise. However, having backspaced the entire thing, I can't show you.

So now I'm just sitting here, watching the cursor blink on my little Document 1, because I don't know what to write next. I don't know how to come up with an idea for a story. There are times when my brain is overflowing with ideas. There's a fantastic quote from a book I started reading but never got past the first page, mostly because I loved this quote, which says:

"It's a misery peculiar to would-be writers. Your theme is good, as are your sentences. Your characters are so ruddy with life they practically need birth certificates. The plot you've mapped out for them is grand, simple and gripping. You've done your research, gathering the facts; historical, social, climatic, culinary, that will give your story its feel of authenticity. The dialogue zips along, crackling with tension. The descriptions burst with colour, contrast and telling detail. Really, your story can only be great. But it all adds up to nothing. In spite of the obvious, shining promise of it, there comes a moment when you realize that the whisper that has been pestering you all along from the back of your mind is speaking the flat, awful truth: it won't work. An element is missing, that spark that brings to life a real story, regardless of whether the history or the food is right. Your story is emotionally dead, that's the crux of it. The discovery is something soul-destroying, I tell you. It leaves you with an aching hunger."
- Yann Martel in his Author's Note at the beginning of Life of Pi.

There is nothing you can do about it. I know the feeling so well. I think this is the reason I stopped reading this book, to be honest. I felt so low about myself and my writing after reading what he had been able to print, in a book, no less, and I just felt deflated. I haven't been able to write properly ever since. And this was months ago.

So Document 1 stays as is for the moment, cold, bare, with only the company of the cursor to keep it from feeling too alone. And I too sit here, alone, void of thoughts or dreams of future stories, just wishing that one would come my way, with enough spark that I could say "That's it." and keep writing it until it was finished. But that's a story for another writer. Not this one, I'm afraid.