Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Plotting December

After a rush of LitCritter deadlines in the past few months, Dean gave us a break of sorts and announced that our next LitCritter Writing Challenge will be on December, with the actual challenge being to write a "plot-ty" (plot heavy) story. Unfortunately for me, plot is one of my weaknesses. This, despite growing up on such plot heavy masterpieces like Master of the Game by S. Sheldon and the plethora of spy-conspiracy novels of R. Ludlum.

What's even worse, of all the LitCritters, I take the longest time to craft a story. Unlike Andrew and Nikki, that, given a week (I daresay for Andrew, even less), they can come up with a competent piece of fiction that could be crafted into a great story given another few days; or unlike the two pigs (and I say this with the purest of intentions, referring to their Chinese Zodiac signs), namely my husband and Vinnie, where plot comes easy as Sunday morning and they could whip up something interesting and exciting within moments of just thinking about it, I tend to take my time crafting something and my approach is more like a sculptor than an artist wherein I batter my story into some cohesive and hopefully understandable shape as opposed to creating something from a blank slate.

And so now, I'm worried. I've been going through my old files, looking for some plot driven idea, and even started on a conceit or two and found myself incredibly bored. Or, hitting my infamous metaphorical wall. Most of the dead stories I've posted here, I concede, could be construed, if you squint hard enough, as plotty. But there's a reason why they're dead - I just don't have the heart to finish them anymore, having decided that the story is crap and not worth revisiting.

I'm tempted to try magical realism again, if only because, sa dami siguro ng nangyayari doon, hindi mo masasabing hindi siya plotty. And if I do, it would seem that I try this style at least once a year. Last year, I wrote a story entitled Wishcatcher based on what I thought magical realism was about (which is mostly reading GGM's works and Dean's works). It failed horribly. Now, I don't know if I've matured enough to try it again, knowing what I know (Dean gave us LitCritters a two hour seminar on magical realism after I submitted the story and my reaction was - that was what I was trying to do?! Good God!). But still the old fear creeps up that I will fail again. And while I have tried not to be obvious about it, having not submitted a good story in all the three recent deadlines for the LitCritters has hurt my confidence horribly, making me think twice (and thrice, and more) about my abilities as a writer, which subsequently forced me to revert back to the bad habit of over editing.

I know it sounds like I'm whining. But one of the things I love about blogging is that it allows me to face my fears and my concerns in a logical manner. And right now, after hearing some bad news about a particular story, this is my fear. That really, I can't write and everything else was just a fluke. Unspectacular flukes at that.

I know that after this blog, I will go back to writing my stupid plotty story for December. And I know I will never, ever, ever (ever) show how afraid I am about failure again. I know that, insecurities aside, I'll just keep writing, because that's just who I am. And I know, that come December, even if I fail, I will pick myself up and smile and take all the constructive criticism and move on.

But for now, I think I'll allow myself some moments to be afraid.

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