Dita Parker

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life on Mars

So, did you enjoy last week's musical interlude? Was it a coincidence they were all women? No such thing as coincidences in fiction, dearest denizens, or coming from a fiction writer. Not only are authors notoriously self-centered beings who think every word they spout is golden because it may have taken them a week to form a sentence to their liking or two days to find the perfect word to describe something that defies description, most every seemingly spontaneous move or syllable is a premeditated act. We don't want to waste our time so we go for maximum effect. We don't want to waste yours so what you see is what you get, at least for my part. I like to think that extends to other authors, too.

I want to take people at face value, think the best of them until proven otherwise. If someone wants to help, I believe they genuinely want to or else they wouldn't be putting precious time into it. If someone comes off as a total asshat then maybe that's what they are. If I get burned, my bad for being so naïve, but I'd rather be naïve than a cynic, or hate or fear people just to be on the safe side. Okay? Okay. (Told you, self-centered, always with the me, writers. Say something. Come on, I won't bite. I promise to love you until you reveal yourself as a total, unredeemable prick. And then I'll try to fix you. See? You can only win with Dita. Stopping with the me now.)

I don't know what kind of brand I can build except be myself. Dita is just a pen name, not role-playing. She's everything I am, or I'm everything she is. Downside: you have a problem with Dita, I take it personally. Upside: you have a problem with Dita, I take it seriously. I don't shrug it off, say girls will be girls, and detach myself.

And what on earth were we talking about anyway? Ooh, the ladies who kept you company last week. Why wouldn't I showcase them, they are awesome. Able Women Extraordinaire Stomping On Male Excess. (If you don't know me by now, a fair warning: I do this, a lot, jumping from one thing to the other. Imagine what the insides of my head look like. It's like Highway 401 in there. Stopping with the me now.)

Awkward transition, okay, nonexistent... Really milked being sick, didn't I, but you see, I apply a very strict policy over getting sick: I'm dead set against it. Hate it. Suck at it. Highly disruptive, on all areas of life. And still: it is done. The story I talked about, the story I shouted out about after pressing Send. I've been at it for what feels like forever but what else is new, I always have more than one pot cooking and this one took a long, slow simmer.

Leave it to me to turn a simple ditty into a never-ending story, but when you write a story with characters prancing around you think you might want to revisit, you find yourself doing the unthinkable, the highly improbable, something you're dead set against because it messes with your M.O.: you plot, outline some. I did, enough I wouldn't regret choices made in this story. And plotting...that's like asking me to prove there's life on Mars. If you ever get to read the story I sent out, I do hope you'll go, "I don't see it. Much ado about nothing. What's the problem? What a drama queen." If that's what you'll think, I've done something right.

You're not supposed to see the strings, the machinations, the blood, sweat and tears writers put into stories. They're supposed to flow and you're supposed to enjoy the ride and think what a lovely time we must have had writing away, even when we may have bawled our eyes out because the pieces won't fit, no trick does the trick, and the characters misbehave. We may have spent considerable time despairing over stepping on a road most of us didn't choose in the first place, it chose us, and all we can do is keep walking and laughing and crying and loving and hurting and writing writing writing until we get it right.

Leave it to me to turn a simple thing into a complex one and milk it for all it's worth but there you have it. I repeat what I said with conviction in So You Think You Can Write: whatever the story, it's a serious effort on my part, and I want to feel good about the end result, happy about it, proud even. I want to know my characters, have everything thought out (yeah, even pantsters get around to it at some point), even if mere snippets of all that work end up in the manuscript. No matter how long it takes, and it is time-consuming.

I still dream of writing full-time, getting there faster, getting those stories out faster, even with all the changes and uncertainty and piracy and fear mongering filling the airwaves and nibbling away at us hopefuls. Writers owe it to the road to give it a shot, give it all they got, don't you think? We have to honor it, not spit and pollute and trample. Have faith. Have patience.

Yes? No? Undecided? Say something. Anything. At least promise to think about it. And have faith and patience, will you. No small task, going digging for life on Mars, but I'm on it. To keep you happy, and for the selfish impulse of making myself happy, doing what I love, in two languages no less, in different genres. I'm not bragging. I'm laughing and crying and loving and hurting and writing. I'm grateful. Amazed. Hopeful.

Never let up with the me, did I? Oh well. My party, my funeral, my little corner of Blogistan.

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