This month the Fellow Writer’s Blog Hop topic is Writer’s Flashback. To take a look at something written maybe several months to years ago and share how our writing has evolved since then.
I have been writing since I was a teenager, but I don’t have any of that material. I took a long, LONG hiatus from writing and only picked it back up a few years ago in the form of Fanfiction. *cough* NSYNC fanfiction*cough*
The first story that I wrote was really, really bad. It was never posted anywhere and I abandoned it pretty early on. It was reincarnated as my longest. story. evar and I ended up finishing it in January of this year. The first story that I posted at the archive, however, was a ditty called “Let’s Start Over“, about a spoiled, petulant brat of a popstar who is forced to work with one of the “Kings of BubbleGum Pop”. Despite her innate need and want to dislike him, his easy going nature and ability to prove that he was more than a soft pop song writer wins her over.
“Hi, Jason Walsh, nice to meet you JC. This is Callie,” said Jason, shaking his hand and gesturing in her direction. Callie intended to skip the pleasantries and took a seat opposite the tall man with blue eyes, a perfect coiffure of dark hair and a day’s growth of beard.
“Great to meet you, Callie. I enjoy your work,” JC said, his voice smooth and his smile friendly, his hand outstretched to shake hers. Callie stared into eyes electric blue, then let her gaze travel down to his plain t-shirt under a zippered jacket and loose blue jeans. He stood like a fool, his hand still reaching for hers, and cocked his head at her, his smile fading slightly.
Jason coughed and glared at her. She sucked her teeth and sighed, then limply shook his hand.
“You, too,” she lied. “Thank you.”
He sat and took a sip of coffee, then reached into a bag and pulled out a folder, a notebook, and a pen.
‘Nerd,’ she thought. ‘This won’t take long.’
“That coffee smells good. Did you get that here?”
“Uhm, yeah there’s a… like a… espresso machine thing down the hall. It’s like a dollar for a cup–I could… do you want me to get you some?” He started to stand and stopped when Callie lifted a hand. She dug a dollar’s worth of quarters out of her wallet and handed them to Jason, who darted out of the room and down the hall.
“That’s what I have a lackey for. I don’t want to delay you. Let’s get this show on the road. What am I doing here?”
JC cleared his throat and jumped in head first. “Uhm, well the label asked me if I would, you know, work with you on some songs for your next album. I should really be asking you what you’re doing here, what do you, like… want to do with your next album?”
“What do I want to do? I want to record some songs and release them. What do you mean, what do I want to do?”
He chuckled lightly at her response. “Uhm, I guess what I mean is that… what message do you want to send? What part of you do you want to put into your music? The label just thought you might need some perspective on uhm… another message, another direction.”
“I don’t have another message. I write what I feel, what others feel. People relate to that, obviously. The message is fine, why does it need changing?”
Jason returned with her coffee and set it in front of her, whispering that it was hot. Callie rolled her eyes. ‘Duh, it’s coffee?’
“Well, ok, let’s not think of it as changing your message, as sending out a DIFFERENT message.”
“That’s what I’m saying. I don’t have a different message.” Callie paused and took a sip, wrinkling her nose at the bitter taste. “Look, I’m not interested in becoming some weak, lovesick ballad singer. I’m not one of those cheesy pop singers who can’t sing anything but ‘ooh boy I love you so’. I don’t KNOW why I’m here, except I’m told I don’t have a CHOICE but to be here. I didn’t pick you.”
Jason interrupted. “I… I think what Callie is saying, JC, is that—“
Callie’s eyes flashed and she whipped around to face her manager. “I can speak for myself. Do you have to be here? Why don’t you have your nose removed from JC’s ass and park yourself in the lobby?”
Jason looked from Callie to JC and back to Callie, and back to JC. JC shrugged at him. It’d be ugly if they got into it; Callie had no shame. Jason packed himself up and quietly stepped out of the room.
Callie watched Jason leave and turned back to JC, who was fidgeting with a pen and slightly pink.
“Jason is my step brother. My mom made me hire him so she could keep an eye on me. We rarely get along, but he’d rather do this than go get a real job, so…” she shrugged.
So the point of this exercise is to explore how our writing has changed and improved. In some ways, I wish I still wrote this way. It was a time when I didn’t know what I didn’t know and at the time I thought it was the best thing ever written. I poured myself into writing, and I wrote for ME. I discovered the archive where other fans were posting their stories and talked myself into joining and posting a story. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and all I could think about was me, bare naked in front of the world. I’d never shared anything I wrote on that magnitude before.
I got up in the middle of the night and deleted the story. And felt relieved. Until the next morning when I got several messages. Some people were in the middle of reading it when it disappeared. Some had hoped to come back the next day and finish it. I reposted it and promised to leave it, and although I bit my nails and had to sit on my hands not to do it, it’s still there. It means something to me, to still have it up.
It reminds me of how far I have come and how much I have changed and how much better my writing is today than it was years ago. I started reading in earnest, to get books and language and an author “voice” to come out. I developed a style and a tone that was patently “me”. And I learned to share my work and not be embarrassed. I made myself write sex scenes so I could get rid of hangups and they wouldn’t be so Pollyanna. Soon after I finished the longie, I wrote another story which was entirely different from anything I’d ever written and was yards and miles better than the story I’d just finished.
This goes to teach me that no matter how much I think it sucks while I’m writing it, the end product always turns out better than something I might have written a mere weeks or months before. Also that reading other authors feeds me in a way nothing else can. The day I stop reading is the the day I stop writing. Writing well, that is.