Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All I've Written

So I haven't really had much to say on here lately. Now that I've finished my first semester of my second year at uni I can get back to prioritising some of my writing goals. I handed in my last assignment on Monday and I feel like I've achieved a credit with my worst class. All my assignments, save for one, a solid credit, have been distinctions or higher. Feels good.

But now that uni's over it feels like all I can really do is work, write and read. Got a couple of things going on, but for the majority of the break, I'll probably just be couped up in my home, learning more about myself through my writing.

Today I went through everything I've written over the past two and a half years, basically, since I started writing as a hobby, just making sure I had all my finished short stories/poems printed out, as well as the draft to my one finished novel, and the odd chapters of the couple of unfinished novels. I think I counted about 230 odd pages. Flicking through the file I now have for my writing, I have written 13 poems, 4 flash fictions, 22 short stories, 1 short film script, 1 radio play, 1 chapter of a novel, 2 chapters of another novel, and 1 complete novel. I also wrote a 10,000 word journal over the course of the past 3-4 months for one of my uni courses, which has the potential for quite a few more stories, however, out of what I've listed here, if you asked me to pick out the ones that I thought were genuinely outstanding, I'd forget about most of them and struggle with the remaining handful.

Yeah, I've started probably 4 or 5 (probably more) novels over the past couple of years, but at the moment, I'm at a struggle to see any merit in them. I guess my units have changed how I write fiction. Certainly, my poetry and short fiction have improved greatly. The stuff that I wrote a couple of years ago that I thought was quite good, now just feels quite average, and I think it was because back then I was writing primarily to entertain people. I was seeing writing as a form of entertainment, just a casual hobby to throw around for people to enjoy. There's nothing wrong with that, but I guess I look at books like Twilight, I guess that's an example that a lot of people can relate to, and I wonder about the meaning behind it. What was the meaning behind my gothic horror shorts? I guess with my Literary and Cultural Studies units I've been able to understand how some texts go beyond the simple pleasure of 'novel=entertainment' and attempt to actually say something entirely larger about class or race or gender or whatever.

I read Fight Club for the second time this semester, and watched the film for I think the fourth time. I learned a lot regarding gender that I didn't wholly understand the first time reading it through, and I find that it's very much a part of why I identified with it as much as I did. It's about questioning the dominant ideologies of man, it's about renegotiating the self and attempting to renegotiate your expectations with society. That's the sort of thing I'd like to get into my writing. I don't want to be someone who writes something purely for the sake of giving people something entertaining to read. I want to be someone who writes something that really makes a statement. It doesn't have to be as in-your-face as Fight Club, but I'd like for something to be there, if that makes sense.

So anyway, all my older stuff is pretty much redundant in terms of that goal, and while I've talked about rewriting my novel, to make it more decent, more entertaining, I feel there's nothing really there at this point in time, and I'd rather just start over with something completely new. A new novel. New ideas. A novel that's about something. I've had a recent idea about a sci-fi short story, and one thing that's kept me from writing sci-fi for a while was because when I write it, it feels so bland and empty. But hopefully, this short story is able to say what I want to say, and maybe even extrapolate out into a novel.

I don't know. In a few years time, I'll probably be questioning everything I've done up until that point like I am now, and I'll feel like I'm just running in circles.


  1. Your brain is working overtime... Okay, so I just want to put it out there, nothing you write is so undervaluable that it's worth forgetting. ALL writing, even if it's just for entertainment taps into the psyche. If you want to explore the big issues, I am sure that there is something you have already written which can be developed. But if you really hate it, put it in a box. One day when you have writers block you can take it out and look through it, and maybe start over. They do say the rule is always finish what you start, but they never said when by.

    I love the new blog layout, its like looking at blood under a microscope.

  2. My brain is always working overtime, that's just what it does. And I'd hate to sound arrogant or elitist in saying that, but I often feel anxious of what other people would think. That's one liberty I enjoy about writing, and I guess communicating via MSN, blogs, the internet etc, is that you can really think about what you want to say before you say it. It's not like in real life, where you're like "fuck, I wish I hadn't said that."

    I absolutely agree with keeping the stuff I hate. I know it's not complete horse-shit, but I also know it's no Tolkien or Palahniuk for that matter. I felt like rewriting one of my earlier stories yesterday, although I didn't. I probably will later, I just want to figure out what I want to write into it.

    I'm glad you like the layout. It was just a template I came across when I was bored, and I loved the chaos of it, like it's representative of something (or someone) so deeply flawed, yet so fascinating.