Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.”
Grant Morrison, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us about Being Human

Lately I've developed a fascination with superheroes and comics. For the longest time, my only knowledge or contact with superheroes was through movies or television. There was Christopher Reeves Clark Kent on the big screen and then Tom Welling's Clark Kent on Smallville. There were the various interpretations of Batman in the movies, but my favorite character of them all was The Joker as played by Jack Nicholson. I was supposed to root for the hero, but I liked the villain more.

The hero was always too perfect. Too good looking, too built, too rich, too everything. It wasn't appealing. I tried to get into the comic books, but didn't know where to start. So, as a teen, I wrote it off as not being for me. In 2000 a movie came out which made me reconsider. It was "Unbreakable," by M. Night Shyamalan. It was the story of a man, David Dunn, who was the only survivor of a train accident. The movie brilliantly shows his life as colorless, depressing, and lonely. You can just feel there's something missing until he meets a comic book store owner, Elijah Price.

Price has a rare disease that causes his bones to break very easily. His childhood nickname was "Mr. Glass," due to his condition. Price spent his childhood reading comic books and had a realization, if someone like himself was born so weak and helpless then there had to be someone at the opposite end of the spectrum. Someone strong who could help those in need - a superhero. I won't give away the ending, but if you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend it. It really made me think about superheroes and villains in a whole new light. It definitely led to a whole slew of "what if" questions.

The world has no shortage of villains, but how often do we hear of the heroes? I'm thinking of the everyday person who does something amazing and no one ever knows who they are. What an amazing thing to believe that under the guise of a poor single mother beats the heart of a fierce, brave superhero. What about the homeless man shuffling down the street? What if it's all a cover to hide the cape? Impossible? Laughable? Perhaps. You can believe what you want. However, I choose to believe there are heroes and better yet, superheroes among us. What a boring world it would be without them.

Yes. This fascination also came about because of a story idea, which I'll be writing for Camp NaNo.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Finding Me

So, it's been a long time since I've posted anything on this blog. I've been trying to be a part of and do something that's not me. I've been trying to fit in. It's kind of like being the new kid in school and you're welcomed into a certain clique. You're not fully comfortable and don't really feel you fit in, but you say what you know people want to hear, you commiserate about things you secretly find trite, you pump up your enthusiasm about things that bore you to tears in private. Why would I, or anyone, do this to themselves? Is it furthering my art or making me feel better about myself? The simple answer is no. I'm very unhappy because I'm not being me. I'm trying to squeeze myself into a mold which will never fit.

I want to be a successful published author. There. I said it "aloud." I know what you're thinking, so do a lot of other people - and you're right. I've got a ton of writer friends on Facebook and they all want to be successful and published. Looking at the feed on my wall is almost discouraging at times, but I keep pushing myself to better.

I want to write. However, I spend so much time worrying about finding good critique partners, critique groups, finding beta readers and getting feedback. I can't afford workshops, retreats, and writing classes and I worry this will affect my chances of being published. I read craft books and then panic that I'm not doing something right. Egads! I used an adverb in the first five pages!! I told instead of showed! My characters can't blink, shrug or sigh without making my palms sweat.
I know I'm supposed to have an online presence, but can't afford a website, so I have a blog, but I don't update it enough (yes, I'm talking about this one). Is my content relevant anyway? Is a blog good enough? I don't know. I once read an article with an agent that said the first thing she does for any potential client is Google their name. Ack! My pulse was racing. I have Facebook, Google+, Twitter and I write for two other sites in the hopes of getting my name out there. But is this going to be enough?

Sometimes it feels as though I've jumped onto a hamster wheel. I keep hearing that if I do things a certain way, I'll make it - maybe, possibly, eventually someday. I keep running, but I'm not getting much accomplished, because I'm trying to follow all the "have to's." So, I'm taking a flying leap off the wheel and into the stormy seas of the unknown.

I'm going to pursue publication my way. I'm going back to my writing. The statistics of becoming a successful author aren't great, not even good. If that's the case, then I need to enjoy the journey instead of worrying so much about the rules. If you can't disregard rules in art, then when can you?

Some people I know are probably shaking their heads in dismay(argh! another thing that sets my heart racing in fear - the dreaded head shaking by a character).

I've spread myself too thin. Now, instead of writing happily for hours, I'm constantly checking that I'm doing something correctly. Instead of writing what my characters want, I worry that it won't fit into the genre and an agent won't like it. Instead of following the story as I feel it should go, I'm worried about the three act plot, subplots, inciting incident, build up, climax, character arcs, etc...
The funny thing is, I know how to do this. I've been reading for more years than I care to admit. I know how a book should flow. I'm not saying it's going to be perfect, but it'll be fixable. I'm going to again start writing the stories I love.

I'm not going to turn this into a blog about my journey to publication - seriously, how many are of those are there? I'm not going to give writing advice. Why? Because I'm not qualified to do so. I can't tell anyone how to get published, because I'm not there yet. I won't be doing anymore book reviews, because I just don't like to do them. This blog will be about whatever I feel like when I'm posting. I'll try to update on a somewhat regular basis, but I'm not going to make any promises, because as much I appreciate you following me or reading me via Facbook and Twitter, blogging isn't my love - I'd rather be writing.