Amanuensis (amanuensis1) wrote,
Amanuensis
amanuensis1

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How to write and, more importantly, keep on writing.

*eyes these poll results ("What would be a suitable punishment for using 'Remy' and 'Siri' in a fic?")*

*eyes own fic, As Sharp As Sunlight*

Lemme read off a few answers in that poll...flogging, spanking, not being spanked, banishment from fandom, "having their bits drug over hot coals add salt," Dementor Kiss, hetfic, sterilization by spork, lobotomy without anesthesia, "Umbridge/Hedwig for the rest of the author's life," smacked with a tuna, forced sodomy with candy canes, "an ass-baby Sue," exile, life in Azkaban, no internet ever, "death by squirrel"...

Y'know, I've declined to go back and change those nicknames in that story because I think of it as "what's done is done; go on to new things and think of old stories as the mistakes you learned from," but...eesh, death by squirrel, guys. Maybe I should reconsider.

In all earnestness, I avoid getting sucked into going back to make changes in old posted stories primarily because the internet is the ultimate instant gratification self-publishing house, and it makes sense to look at one's older works as "published and done." Authors of books don't get to recall all of their books, saying, "Wait! I want to change the ending/the protagonist's name/the scene with the attacking newts!" The difference is that the 'net is easily mutable. But doing that will suck you in like a great sucking bog.

Every story of mine that's older than three to six months? I look back on it and can't believe I missed all that. Unnecessary adverbs, run-on-paragraphs, bits I thought were endearing that are cloying as hell...but they're old stuff; it's more productive to learn from each of those and do what one can to make fewer of those mistakes. I itch to get all those italics out of Other Chambers, Darker Secrets, to get that same-scene PoV swap out of Because Of Who You Are, to edit Remy and Siri out of As Sharp As Sunlight (I thought they were logical nicknames! Who knew?). But that way lies bog-dom. And you never get out, if all you do is go back and try to edit everything until it's all perfeck. It's never perfect. You always see the errors four months later. Deal.

So, I go on. Unless you're polishing up a story for submission to a publisher--and be cautious about that; sometimes it's not possible to gild older, flawed stories into something worthy of publication--everyone should go on. I use fewer italics now, I watch for unauthorized PoV shifts, and I don't use Remy and Siri because people hate them. Even though I still think they're kinda sweet. Remember that you have to write lots of crap before you can get better. The place for the crap is in your "Remember when I wrote these? Gosh, I still have fondness for these, even though their flaws are all but mooning me when I read them" folder. Not your "actively working" folder.

(No, this is not just a ploy to get everyone to write new smutty fics for me. Except it indirectly is. But it isn't. Oh, you know what I mean.)
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