Anti-Rebels

“The next literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law.”

– David Foster Wallace

I could see this, actually. I think it also brings up a good point – writing what you want to write, not for shock factor or anything else. Just to write the story or poem or whatever it is you have flitting about in your head.

Things I’ve learned from my current read.

I’m currently reading a recently published YA book that deals with a female protagonist who hunts the supernatural. The story is fun, but here’s some things I’ve learned from where it’s lacking:

– While the protagonist has her moments, her character overall feels a little weak. It’s told in first person (like most YA is today), and her voice just doesn’t stand out from other YA narrators. I begin to look back on all the first person YA I’ve read recently, and I realize most of their voices begin to meld into one sort of harmonic conglomerate: a sassy teen with a few witty one-liners, who has some angst but is growing and learning.

So, do I want to risk having my book in first person and having my protagonist’s voice melt in with so many others out there? Or do I gamble with third person, which is so rarely used in YA nowadays and may not appeal to YA readers?

OR, do I try to write in first person, but remember that my protagonist is not just a sassy, angsty teen? That there’s more to her than that? Maybe I could take what I’ve learned here and use it to help my protagonist gain a stronger voice, a stronger sense of self.

– Going back to what I’ve learned from the book I’m currently reading, I’m having trouble really falling into the setting and placing myself in the book’s world. The protagonist has been a paranormal hunter her entire life, and is now for the first time ever experiencing ‘normal’ teenage things like high school and making friends. It’s been interesting enough that I keep turning the pages, but not necessarily engaging.

While reading this morning, I suddenly realized that it’s partly because I can’t picture her environment in my head. She’s walking around with a couple other students, getting to know them, making friends with them; they’re going on adventures together, doing normal high school stuff like going to games; but I can’t really build a bigger picture in my head other than the three of them standing together. What’s the weather like beyond them? Is it fall? Is the air crisp, are the leaves changing? Is it the east coast, or the west coast? The three of them cluster together in my head, surrounded mostly by fog in my imagination, because the author hasn’t provided the brushstrokes I need to complete the painting.

So that’s good to keep in mind for my own story. I like knowing how things look, feel, smell, taste. I want to know if it’s a cold night, or if the sun is burning on her bare arms. Those little details help place me in a story.

4:00 in the afternoon and haven’t written anything yet. Finally, I stomp over to the freezer and pull out the bottle of vodka, throwing back two shots straight from the bottle.

And now I can feel it humming in my limbs, making me warm and loose. And I sit down in front of my laptop and feel more comfortable, feel brave, feel like I can open my manuscript and stare it in the face boldly. You don’t scare me now, you dumb, mean novel that’s taking forever to write.

Didn’t expect to be sitting slightly tipsy today as the sun’s just beginning to set. But whatever.

You’ve probably never heard of it.

My impressive photography skills on full display. Wow! Such photo!

Have you heard of this little thing called NaNoWriMo? Nobody in the blogosphere ever talks about it, so I’d understand if you hadn’t. Anyways, several bloggers suggested I try it this year (special shout-out to KatieMay34 who helped push my stubborn butt over the edge and finally convinced me to sign up).

And it’s fun so far! Very eye-opening to put my daily word count into a little chart thing and see all these stats pull up. Super fun to have other people to talk to about writing. And I even went to a local NaNoWriMo kick-off party and met some fellow writers in person!

So, thank you to all who suggested NaNoWriMo to me. And if you’ve been thinking about signing up, just do it! It’s definitely not too late. I’m hoping this will help November be a more productive month for me than October turned out being.