I first started writing fiction over a year and a half ago (I wrote RPF webcomics "Mods on High" 1 2 3 and 4 for members of SlayAlive spoofing them with Buffyverse symbolism and plots - I soon discovered that while hilarious, I couldn't rely on artists doing this for me so only 2 of the 4 scripts were created), but didn't really begin in earnest until around this time last year. So it's interesting to look back at everything I've written and to see how I've grown. This is most evident in reading the early chapters of TYSK compared to now. I think the ambling beginning of this story really shows in that it started out as just Spike's letter - that was it. And then it grew and grew into a theme of 'Everything that Season 8 isn't doing that I want to see! Everything that Season 8 isn't exploring that would be so interesting!'
And I realize that I have an interesting process. Because TYSK is sprawling. It's not the tightest plot, though I do try to create an interesting chain of events. But I'm taking my time with the story. I had an entire chapter about Spike discovering DVDs masquerading as porn (!!!) - that was about character and humor and a relevance to the plot that won't seem relevant until way later.
Now, one of the reasons I think my process is unique is I'm playing a game of chicken with Joss Whedon. I'm trying to make TYSK fit into canon with my own personal tweaks. Here's the problem - I don't have key information. Like who is Twilight. That one is killing me. So I take Boreanaz's advice about dogracing and I put my head down and I run to the nearest post directly ahead of me. Right now, that's the Retreat arc. And specifically, that's the space in between #25 and #26 where the gang uprooted, were on the run from attacks, and this was never shown only told. Show, don't tell, right? Well, I'm showing that.
Because of the dictates of my process with TYSK as it follows a canon that is not closed and ever evolving, I'm always dancing around the story and trying to make pieces fit and hoping like hell that I don't get Joss'd. (A part of me suspects that if Spike is Twilight - which I fear because of my story - that it might actually work favorably for TYSK! Because who wants Spike to be Twilight seriously? :P) I'm dancing here because of Joss, but I'm also dancing because of the audience too. Feedback from readers has greatly influenced me.
Back when TYSK just started, aisalynn would beta chapters for me and she was incredibly enthusiastic about the Decoy. Because she showed such strong interest, the Decoy returned after the early chapters and became a huge part of the later story and now Lara exists. And all the enthusiasm about Connor and Spike's interaction meant Connor came to Rome too and then stuck around for the action (ahem, perhaps romantic action).
Just as I'm hyperaware of Joss' Season 8 as source text, I'm hyperaware of audience perception. And I think this is part of where my own personal style comes into play. The word cliffhanger ring any bells? I've been accused of being a cruel, evil woman for stopping the story THERE so many times, especially recently. Why, yes, I am evil. And twists in the plot? Yeah, I do that too. When I write, I naturally built up to moments of audience 'thrill' - that's when the voice inside me goes 'yeah, there, that's a good place to close it'.
These are really musings about what kind of writer I am (right now, at the very least). So self-reflection = self-absorbed... *shrugs* Maybe so. But when trying to figure out myself, I think of established writers (and don't think I'm them, god no!) as a guidepost for style. The serialization style I utilize reminds me most of Dickens who would walk the streets of London pondering his story (I drive late at night sometimes thinking about my story) and who would discuss the story in stages with the audience and react to their perception accordingly. Now, the other author who my friend actually mentioned was O. Henry who was known for his "surprise endings" - this manifesting for me as twists revealed at the end of the chapter.
So this is all leading me to the question 'what kind of writer am I?' and the answer appears to be a writer who works with:
- Serialization *
- Cliffhangers and Surprise endings/Twists
- Genre-blending (comedy, romance, action, drama, horror - come one, come all!)
- Emphasis on Dialogue (character voice, wordplay)
- Symbolism of Location (doorways, windows, natural scenery - lakes, ancient stones)
- * Focus on thematic and character progression over plot progression (a result of my serialization style)
/my writerly self-absorbed reflection
Anyone else care to share their own self-absorbed reflection? :)