I’m writing Young Me into a story.
Okay, who am I fooling? I already knew I was writing Young Me into a story. The whole story came out of a desire I once had, plus a particularly nasty experience.
So why is it so hard for me to write Young Me?
Is the character too close? Do I not want to remember how foolish and niave Young Me was so when I’m trying to write her all I see is the bland nice things and none of the dark shadowy things that made Young Me interesting?
That’s the problem here. I’m writing Young Me and she’s as boring, dry and er, crusty as a bowl of day-old oatmeal. She’s utterly unexciting. She has none of the pinache, none of the off-the-cuff ridiculousness that Current Me exhibits (usually).
What am I doing wrong? Should I be writing Young Me? Shouldn’t my character be separate from me? Every where I turn, I keep learning that you need to know your character as well as you know yourself. You’re writing her, after all. So what the fuck, Current Me? Why you no write good no more?
Maybe it’s because I have other things on my mind. Big things. But this is what I’m doing right now to keep Current Me sane. I’m writing. I’m writing about Young Me. Young Me and the stupid ideas that she had that got her hurt and molded her into what eventually becomes Current Me. But…not really, because this is supposed to be fiction. The lesson that Young Me learns won’t take her years to figure out like it took me. By the way, I’m calling her Emily in the story for now. She’s gone through several name changes in fact, including at one point STEALING her sidekick’s name, can you believe that? What a fucking hussy.
What’s her lesson? That there are bad people in the world and they will steal your innocence. But you can come back from that hurt stronger and smarter than you were before. You just have to stop trusting people.
It’s kind of a sad lesson, isn’t it? Yeah, well. I had to learn it as well. And I’m trying to teach it to my character, but how can I teach it to my character if I can’t even define her?
Here we are. We’ve made it to the point where I am doubting myself. I’ve written well over 17,000 words in the first draft, plus MUCH more in my character sheets and outlines, and I’m at a point where I think: holy fuck, I know nothing. I know LESS than nothing about writing and I’m trying to write a story. What the fuck was I thinking? Clearly I am in way over my head.
Earlier today I began thinking about starting it all over again and the thought alone is so insurmountably depressing that I can’t think of it any more. So I’m going to step away from the computer and do other things to occupy my time until the urge to delete the first draft that is only half-finished (wow, is it already half-finished?) subsides.