Heya peeps! Long time no hear, right?
Let's kick this thing off right, then.
How many here can tell me the difference between good writing and great writing?
A tough question, right? After all, there are so many ways to judge a particular work. Great characters, but crappy story line? A great story, but terrible dialogue? Mediocre everything, but nothing particularly wrong with any one part? What makes a work of writing good, and what makes one bad?
A pet peeve of mine -- and as I'm sure most of you know by now, since I've beaten it over the head with a stick every chance I've had -- is over-reliance on so-called "drama" to carry a story as opposed to simply having an interesting story to begin with.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy twists and turns that advance the plot or move the characters forward. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the whole "ooh, let's take every positive advance we've made with the characters and THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW" type of drama found all too common, well, just about everywhere nowadays.
Stuck in a rut? Well, why not take the long-running happily married couple and have the husband cheat on his wife! Readership dropping off? Have the main character lose everything! Surely people will read about someone being miserable after having worked so hard, right?
This kind of thing, simply put, ticks me off to no end. It's a too-often used escape from having to build positively around the character to advance the plot, and is more often than not the result of an author losing track of where a story is going and adding something to give them a reason to keep writing. Heck, the same reasoning can be applied to television shows, and is one of the primary reasons about the only shows I follow any more are "Phinnehas and Ferb" and "Mythbusters."
Now, how does this apply to my title?
Well, it's like this. As much as this kind of thing annoys me -- to the point that I've stopped reading no telling HOW many stories, and watching at least as many shows -- it seems to be what people want. On top of that, it is, in fact, an easy way to advance a story.
However, it is also a way of advancing a story that I refuse to use.
Why am I taking forever to write anything? Because I KNOW where I want my stories to end up, but I do poorly at plotting the in-between. I could add "drama" to extend the story and bridge the bits I know I want to write, but I'm not going to write anything that I'd refuse to read myself. As a result, I have to find ways of working around these stop-gaps that don't fall into these pits, and it is hard for someone as weak-willed as I to apply the dedication to do so in a timely fashion.
I'm working, and I'm trying to include the occasional "drama-ish" element to keep those who crave it interested, while at the same time not overstepping the lines and leaving me feel like I've given in to the dark side. Just thinking about plotlines that devolve into meaningless drama is enough to ruin my taste for writing for days, and it's inevitably something I stumble on nearly every time I start writing, any more.
But it's getting better. Another chapter of PFH shouldn't be more than another two months or so in the making, and with any luck it will be accompanied by a whole slew of other one-shots I've been working on as well, keeping myself involved with the non-drama as much as I can.
To those who crave the drama, I'm sorry I suck at writing. It makes what I write predictable and tripe.
To those, like me, who crave satisfaction in seeing the protagonist overcome their obstacles and reach that "happily every after" we all crave, I'm sorry I suck at writing. I should be getting these things done faster, so that those of us with simpler, more rose-tinted tastes have something that doesn't make us want to cry, or shake our fists in frustration.
To those who don't care either way, I'm sorry I suck at writing. I'm sorry I ramble on, and make useless update posts about pretty much nothing but how little I'm getting done. It's annoying, I know, but it helps me get inspired, so hopefully you can forgive me eventually.
And to anyone else I forgot, well, just blame how much I suck at writing.
PS: This is in no way meant to be a be-all end-all judgement of good writing. It is simply a statement of what I find to be attractive in a story, and should not be deemed a denouncement of every story ever written that uses drama. After all, EAFOAB is nothing BUT drama, and it's still an amazing read. So, please, take what I've said above with at least one of the grains of salt it is oh-so-liberally littered with. Thank you.