September 4 was my birthday. I wanted to spend the day with my dad. So, on Friday night, I decided to prepare for another tenuous war to write about by procrastinating to the point of posting quotes from my own book. Not that I think I was saying anything of great importance, but sometimes I may say something interesting.
While going through my chapters, it was like reading what I wrote for the first time. When I write a script, I often put it aside for a time and pick it up later and look at it like I’ve never seen it before in order to test my ability to make anything jump off the page. With The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy, I didn’t think to do that at first. I figured since it was “fan fiction” it probably couldn’t hold water in a tin cup. Besides, even now with some of the most interesting people interested in it, I still think of it as more of an exercise in craft as opposed to something anyone wants to read.
Am I the only one who thinks that writers don’t read their own work like they’ve never seen it before? Not to say we don’t, but we did write it. What could possibly be new and interesting other than checking for misspelled words or checking grammar mistakes? On Friday night and into Saturday, I scared myself a little. Honestly, I could not believe that stuff came out of my head.
Though I did manage to make corrections, what scared me was everything. Watching a child grow into adolescence and adulthood. I was like reading memoirs somewhat. I realized how far Thranduil had come and it seemed real. I am not bragging or anything–I just looked at my own work from a reader’s point of view for a moment in time to understand why it kept getting “liked”. That shocked me because it does not have graphic adult content like some “Thranduil” fan fictions I’ve seen. Nothing in it sounds hip and modern because it wouldn’t be appropriate for the world in which the story is set. It tells as story of generations of elves in a world full of peril with moments that sound like a meeting in a war room. What scared me the most was what characters said to each other. It was conversational–and getting an elf to speak conversationally about Morgoth or Sauron like someone would speak about the ninth inning of a baseball game isn’t an easy thing to do.
The story has been called pithy and though I have an English Degree, I still had to look it up because somehow, it didn’t sound like me. And yes, I spent one hour one day trying to convince someone a quote by Legolas in Chapter XIX: Mirkwood was not found in any Tolkien book (which should be slightly obvious because there is no interaction with Thranduil and Legolas in Tolkien–especially as a young elf before Gandalf gets a Hobbit to go on an adventure with 13 dwarves). Some things just sent chills up my spine because it was just indescribable. I almost wish I never read myself.
I have ADHD and chances are I won’t remember too much. Poetry is one thing but narrative is something else entirely and I always dreaded it since Creative Writing in college. I often feel exhausted after detailing the surroundings and when the dialogue kicks in, often I think it will be dull. This time, it wasn’t dull. Granted it is heavily laden with proper high brow speaking–I couldn’t very well use language outside of its genre. But some moments even I felt and had to step back and think to myself, “I wrote that? How did I write that?”
I do tend to write in a trance-like state–complete submersion. If I am deep enough inside the story, anyone coming into the room scares me to the point of screaming. I love being able to be surrounded by the world I’m writing about. It just never occurred to me to read it outside of that world.
I still have lots to edit, change add or subtract. I do not like typographical errors or grammar issues and I will obsess–I am the original OCD writer. I correct posts on Facebook for entertainment.
Right now, my only goal is to finish The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy. I just want it to be as good as it can be. I am glad people like it and read it. I love writing it. It shouldn’t sound like I wrote it–it should sound like I lived it. For all the work I’ve done to get it right, if anything about the story scares me for being realistic, then perhaps I’m doing what I set out to do–write a good story. That’s all I ever wanted to do in the first place.–J.