FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,
FernWithy
fernwithy

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Graphophobia

In the last segment of Shifts (the next is in another browser window as we speak), I had an interaction between Tonks and Andromeda, and at the end, I stuck in a "tell-y" line. lyras called me on it (in the midst of a complimentary post, and believe me, I'm not complaining; I never complain about a new subject to write about writing).

This is what I wrote in response (in case you're not following Shifts, but want to talk about a writing issue):

I was going to stop at "Pure maternal trivia"--no follow-up action--and go straight to Sirius, but I was gripped by sudden panic. "Oh, no! I haven't given them an idyllic relationship, I know there's a theory out there that they don't get along, and Andromeda has just expressed rather strong reservations against my known OTP... I'd better clarify that it's not a bad relationship, just in case what I already wrote wasn't clear enough!"

It had been a bit too long since I did a Shifts post. Stage fright or something. (Someday, I'll have been writing long enough to beat stage fright, but I have a feeling that's a long way off. And anyway, the butterflies are all part of the fun, even when they do lead me astray...)



I know I can write characters. It's something I've always been able to do (as opposed to minor things like plot and setting). I started out as a character writer--I write like an actress--and I'll probably always be, primarily, a character writer. Most of my fears are about other things. I have an utter panic about plots being too thin, or themes not being chewy enough to sustain a reader for the length of the story, and certainly about getting setting details wrong.

But because I'm a character writer, it's when I get a twinge of fear about a character that I make the doofiest writing mistakes. On plot, I figure, hey--plots get messed up all the time. On setting... erm, honestly, I'm just lazy and hope that people won't notice the great big blank stage I leave the characters on most of the time. On theme? Lots of philosophical positions about a simple theme well-developed making better fiction than a complex theme that isn't. But character...

What if I haven't got it right?

In this case, I'm aware of a lot of speculation about Andromeda. I know that some fans think that her relationship with Tonks is strained. And I had a moment's panic: Am I not being clear enough? Will people think she's a bad person because she has some extreme reservations about the idea of Dora and Remus being together? And I know that there are some other issues that have to come up that I'm going to run into the same panic with. For example, Remus used to be one of Dora's caretakers; it will occur to Andromeda and to Remus that initiating a romantic relationship with someone who was once in one's care is awkward, and both of them will have the uncomfortable thought, "What if there was something untoward in his mind back then?" Now, it's poppycock; he was a responsible caretaker with no bad intentions in mind. But I just know when I get there that I'm going to panic. I'm not going to want to leave even the possibility vaguely open in anyone's mind. (I freaked out when someone saw it in "Your Very Own Dora.") It's going to be a huge temptation to literally write it out in black and white (or, well, dark green and light green) that of course it's a stupid idea and everyone knows it.

Why is that? I have bright readers. I know I have bright readers, because you all comment, and do so quite brilliantly. Why in the world would I have a sudden fit of panic that without an explicit authorial intrusion, I won't be able to get a point across? (At the moment, I'm thinking of a compromise, of Tonks finding out about this and laughing madly at the concept. Line: "Really, Remus, do you stay up late at night creating silly things to worry about, or do they just come to you naturally?" But what if it's not clear enough????)

And so on.

And I'm the girl who complains horribly about the fact that R.A. Salvatore used the word "anger" in the scene about the Tusken massacre in the Attack of the Clones novel! Isn't it obvious that Anakin is angry? Why use the word? (Yes. I'm a writing geek. I really did tear at my hair over the appearance of the word in that scene. I mean, come on, "the only purpose that Anakin could fathom was that of the rage building within him, an anger at losing someone he did not wish to give up... he should not give in to that anger... the rage was not sated..." All right, already, we get it! He's a bit piqued. Tell us how it feels! Anakin's not naming his emotions just then, he's experiencing them...!)

Yet, I find myself giving in to the Dark Side of over-exposition anyway.

Writing is scary. I have fear of it. I shouldn't give in to being afraid. The fear is not sated, I'm afraid... ;p

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