The Horror …

Doctor Who vs the Morlocks
One of the people in the group was wearing a shirt with this image. When I commented to him about the Morlocks (from the 1960 film adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine) he said: “What? No. These are just zombies.”

NaNoWriMo approaches, and I will not be participating.  That is because the draconian overlords of this event insist that you must begin a new project when participating; continuing to work on something is strictly forbidden.  Those who do so are apostates, deemed “Nano Rebels” and forced to interact with others of their kind in their own little pogrom.  I choose not to associate with the NaNoNazis and work in private, more or less, flouting their burdensome rules.

But, as I said, “more or less.”  This morning I decided to sit in on my local official NaNoWriMo group’s preparatory meeting, even though–as I was keen to point out–I was not participating this year.

The experience proved a harrowing one.  Apparently, I am just someone with views of writing that are so drastically different from others’ that I may not be able to mix with them.  Among the nuggets from this morning:

I’m a very visionary writer. I think a lot of people wouldn’t get my writing. For instance I sometimes have two main characters. Both are main characters.

Apparently this person has not heard of a little-known series of books titled A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.  If you want to go back a little, there’s James Joyce’s Ulysses, sometimes called the greatest novel of the 20th century.

I don’t have a lot of control over what I write. I put down whatever my muses dictate. I’m really looking foreword to discovering what they have in mind for NaNoWriMo this year.

Now, considering the person who said this was talking about her hobbies of hunting ghosts and recording EVP (electronic voice phenomena, which surprisingly she insisted are much easier to record with cheaper equipment) I’m not sure how literally she meant this. Scary, no?  This also continued the disturbing trend I’ve noticed of people insisting that planning stories is so passé.

I had someone critique my work, but they had too many notes. They clearly didn’t get what I was doing. Now I only like to share my work with fellow writers.

If your work is so dependent on being read by someone with a particular mindset, there might be something wrong with the work itself.

I like reading fiction but I just CAN’T. I don’t want other peoples’ ideas to influence my own.

I’ve heard of this sort of thing before.  The great writers of the past were voracious readers (and it’s not uncommon that contemporaries basically formed little clubs) and he idea of one’s ideas being somehow poisoned by the works of others is as ridiculous as a martial artist developing a fighting style without ever interacting with other fighters (they might pull it off, but it would be a lousy one.)

It’s not to say that everything I overheard was nonsense.  There was some insightful discussion about how overall writing styles are affected by the times (such as being able to pick out something written during the Victorian era vs the 1920’s other than references to technology and other aspects of the time.)  This echoes my own views that current writing mantras such as “show, don’t tell” are more an enforcement of current trends rather than good writing.

Regardless, I probably won’t be going back.  I also might be a judgmental prick.


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