Monday, April 23, 2012
The Dangers of Re-Reading Your Own Published Fanfic
It's been quite a while since I've actually written anything, so I'll try and remember how the process goes. Usually I'll just start writing and get it all down and leave it alone. Sometimes I'll re-read it pretty quick and edit and sometimes I can't bring myself to look at it again for a while. Seriously, especially if I'm writing a sexy time scene I quite often won't be able to bring myself to read it for days or even weeks for fear that I'll just immediately chicken out and delete the whole thing.
Sometimes, I might go back and re-read something I wrote and actually think, "Wow, that's pretty good." It's rare, but it does happen. Let's talk about one story in particular, which would be "Culmination." If you haven't read it, it follows through some missing moments in ROTJ through to the infamous first time. Or at least my version of it. The idea of writing their first time intimidated me so much that I spent years thinking I'd never write it, not even with the intention of never showing it to anyone. And then one day, for some reason, I decided to just give it a shot. I remember writing it and then walking away from it for a few days, and then I finally went back to polish it up to send it to my trusty editor (Push) and I actually thought to myself that I was surprised that I wasn't cringing as I read it. I took that as a good sign.
Then, just yesterday I decided to revisit that story for no reason other than total boredom and the thought that maybe if I read something I had written and liked it I might remember why I wrote and it might give me some inspiration. Except instead, when I read it, I hated it. Not just the sex scene, but most of the rest leading up to it. It hasn't been that long since I wrote it, my standards can't have changed that much. But for whatever reason, at the moment I'm seeing it all in a much more negative light.
I wrote a post once about how every story you write doesn't have to be amazing, and I still believe that to be true. There are certainly some stories I'm far more proud of than others. And there are a couple I feel like I never even want to click on again for fear that I'll reflexively unpublish as fast as I can. I haven't done that yet but I've certainly thought about it. What is it that makes us like our stories one day and think they're corny crap the next? I have no idea. I'm just telling you this in the hopes that some of you can relate and maybe you won't be quite so upset when you realize that other people think the same thing. If I'm wrong though then I probably have a lot of stories to delete.
It's funny though because I don't feel this way when reading other people's stories. I don't read one and think it's great and then a couple of weeks later read it again and think it sucks. My opinions there remain constant. So just be careful about getting overly critical of your writing or making rash decisions based on one bad feeling. Or just avoid the issue all together by publishing your stories and then leaving them alone! Am I the only one who every few months goes back and reads them? Maybe not start to finish, and certainly not everything, but I do sort of check up on myself from time to time. "Oh, was I really any good? No, not really. Okay, moving on..." That kind of thing.
I should stop now because I think I've rambled enough and I'm just going to become self critical of my writing in this post ;)