Friday, February 10, 2012

My story idea of Wish Fulfillment: Rebel Diana/Nobody 'Till You

I have so many pet peeves in the writing world that it's crazy. Even if I narrowed it down to the pet peeves I have about my OWN writing, that doesn't really narrow down much of anything. Most of my pet peeves are just things that I have no control over, but continue to annoy me nonetheless.

I like to get to know some of my CD's by playing them along with my choice of video games. Sometimes, it just so happens that the CD in question becomes the soundtrack to a part of that video game. With Jak & Daxter, I could probably work up a couple of CD's to cover the entire game. But for the moment, when I play through, I always have to play two CD's because they just fit the scenery and actions perfectly.
Often times, the combination makes me a better game player, if not temporarily.

There was maybe once or twice when Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" was my companion for the first two sections of the game-- Sandover village and the Forbidden Jungle. Now I'd gotten too fast for my own good, so the next installment comes later than I'd like.
Covering the realms from Misty Island to crossing the Fire Canyon, I use "Speak" by Lindsay Lohan. Say what you want about her, but I thought the album rocked when I was in my senior year of high school. I'll go into more detail a little later, the reason I'm starting this entry in the first place, but yeah, a guy had a little something to do with it.

I made up two mixes of songs that were the most often played by me or alluded to certain parts of the school. 10th grade & 11th grade.
With 10th grade, I had a number of Dream Street songs, three by Michelle Branch ("Here with me" being the break-up song... marking the end of me fantasizing I had a chance with one of my guy friends), a couple by Vanessa Mae (if only for filler, lol... the last 4 had no real place, I just liked them a lot), two by Plus One... and that was basically it. There was a repeated theme with my "crush d'ans," but they only held up for so long.

11th grade was something else... if anything, it became a work of art. It started with the first song I heard coming into my Physics class. My teacher had a radio in his desk and he was a big Guster fan. I got the one album for two songs ("Fa fa fa" and "4, 3, 2, 1") and sold it a couple years later cuz I didn't really like the whole thing. The same went with Stacie Orrico. I liked "More to life" and instead, I ended up selling the album because we didn't quite gel together.
So after the Guster song, I'd have this song "11 out of 10" by Play and "Worthless" by Greg Raposo. Nothing too special unless you were in my place... Pre-calculus was the bane of my existence that first marking period, but playing those two songs helped a bit.
Then I think I had a couple of my favorite Clay Aiken tracks from his first album (and I'm sorry to say it was his only good album... after that, it just went downhill) that reminded me of another guy that came into my life. This actor with a velvety tenor voice that I still haven't forgotten to this day how crazy I was about him. I guess the connection came because a) he was graduating that year and he'd be sorely missed and b) Clay Aiken has a fine tenor voice that reminds me a bit of him... that's probably the reason a couple Josh Groban tracks got in there too...
"Stairway to Heaven" got in there because I heard him sing it once and that really made the song come alive for me... loved it ever since.

Then it gets kinda sparse with the meanings behind why I picked the next couple songs. Jesse McCartney covering a song from "Peter Pan" was something I played a million times, so why not... we did the song "Masquerade" in concert choir and the opener was a solo version of "All I ask of you"... Simple Plan's "Perfect" came in because a) I loved the song and b) I felt such a camerarderie with it... like it fit how I felt at the time...

As for where this all fits in the game... I started playing it when I got to the Snowy Mountain realm of the 3rd world... and somehow, the rest fit into place. I'd get up to "Stairway to Heaven" by the time I finish... and I'd navigate the deadly Spider Caves realm. If all goes well, I'm in the Lava Tube by the time the 2nd Guster song starts playing.

My thing for music goes back more years than I can remember... but one thing's for sure... combining music with video games makes it go all the more faster, makes it more fun...

I'm also very visual when it comes to music. It used to be that I could listen to a song and images of something or someone would come to mind... so when I write, I like to have music close by to inspire me or help prolong some scenes.

Playing the game again today... going through Misty Island and Sentinal Beach... to "Speak"...
it kinda inspired me... just a little bit... to revisit the idea that more or less came from the album.

First of all, the first time I heard it kinda felt like an electric shock, a little more harsh than I thought it was going to be. But I was expecting bubblegum pop. In a way, I guess it still kinda is. It's just that when a certain guy started coming to mind, the two were like a match made in heaven. Or so it seemed.
It started with a couple of songs from the album kinda hitting the right spots and areas.

"First" is about wanting to be a guy's first priority... and when it came to him, I kinda felt that way. Well, not kinda, I definitely felt that way. He had his own circle of friends, a lot of them were girls and he'd be super close with the bunch of them. I wanted to get in on that popularity, but I didn't know how. I got so uber jealous and wanted badly to be able to speak my mind.

"Speak" kinda came from that too, the title track... wanting desperately to not be afraid to say anything to him... as it often is with guys, I'm very scatterbrained, not quite knowing what to say to them a lot of the time.

"Nobody 'till you" sounded perfect for describing the feeling of what it was like to be around him. The few times we got to talking, he made me feel like I was the only one in the room. You know how it is... getting a little extra time with a special guy in your life, you feel special because he took the time out for you.

All the other songs kinda helped in one way or another.

The story more or less became a feat of wish fulfillment that I was never completely able to bring to a head.
Meaning that it started out really good, but it got so lost in the middle... muddled in fact.

A lot of people say how the first 50 pages are the hardest to write of a story/book/novel, whatever you want to call.
Maybe it's because in a bunch of my works, if not all of them, 50 pages is actually HALF of the entire story...

#$%& me, this story is just a little more than 50 pages...
first 50 pages, my ass...
and if I rounded up, my word count is just less than 24,000... this is no book, it's more like a novella that probably nobody would buy into, nevermind a publisher

No, length really isn't the biggest issue at hand.
Neither is the first 50 pages... the beginning for that matter.

I mean, yeah, the beginning is a little wooden. A lot of exposition or background information. I doubt anyone's going to buy into it. I mean, I started this when I was maybe 18. I was still very emotionally immature at the time. Like getting the attention of who I perceived to be the most popular guy in my concert choir class was the most important thing in the world to me.

The beginning could do with some reworking because, even in 3rd person, it's very melodramatic.

The way I used to write was in this method: wish fulfillment. What I couldn't make happen in real life, I made happen in my writing. Each time I look back at this work in particular, I just want to crawl under a rock or hide or whatever to just put it out of my mind. It's just so embarassing.

Granted, I'm still very insecure with myself, but supposing I knew nothing about me and I was reading this for the first time... who wants to read about an insecure protagonist?

Diana is probably one of the weakest, if not the weakest personality I'd ever written and she was derived specifically from my own psyche. Because of a little something called multiple personality disorder, she developed another personality who saw all of this going on and wanted to take her place so she could fulfill what her other half was too afraid to... afraid to take any chances, afraid that people wouldn't like her overstepping her boundaries...

Leaving all that aside... going into the first three songs I dervied inspiration from...
"Symptoms of you" is just the regular symptoms and side-effects of crushing on someone
"Disconnected" could go on to mean a number of things for the situation. I'm starting to believe that there are times that Diana blocks out or senses another presence inside her mind... there's a lot of contradictions to the lyrics as there are for her confused psyche.

"Nobody 'till you" brings a lot of pieces together, her motivation throughout the story.

Wanting to come "First" makes the other personality all the more powerful and closer to taking control... but unlike what you see in the soap operas, the other personality screwing over the host personality, "Rebel Diana" wants to fulfill her host's wishes using her stronger persona.

Establishing the first couple of characters and the stronger personality taking over for Diana is one thing... I can live with a lot of those details quite happily with very little objection. It's just the first couple pages that need work, all the insecure I hate reading about, but that was and still is part of who I am.

Here's the hard part:

With the help of her stronger personality, Diana assimilates her way into Brian's life. For whatever reason, he finds himself a little more drawn to her, wanting to spend more time with her because of her newfound confidence. That much I can buy into.

But how far can I push it without making it sound too unrealistic? Is his current girlfriend really necessary in the story to add conflict? Originally, I had it that she eventually got jealous and broke up with him. But supposing I have him break up with her instead... would that be a little too much?
I mean, wouldn't that sound a little too much like something out of "The Little Mermaid"... you know that whole part where, after Ariel was starting to get Eric to fall in love with her, Ursula cheats in turning herself into a girl and putting Eric under a spell so he's persuaded to marry her instead.

How far can I possibly push the envelope before it completely bursts in my hands?

One way or another, Diana and Brian become a couple. Because he's so popular and she's more or less a nobody, people want to know who she is ("To know your name"). Jealousy flairs up a bit and Diana starts to alienate Brian from his friends, him spending almost all of his time with her instead.
Because of that, rumors start to fly around her about how in the world she wormed her way into his life... however he and his girlfriend break up, that has validity in this instance.

Everything starts to crop up when the Spring Fling dance comes around.
Diana's stronger personality starts to see the error of her ways ("Anything but me"). She comes to sort of realize that not only is Brian not nearly as happy in this relationship as he could be... takes into account how she'd more or less cut him off from everyone else... Diana didn't want to interrupt the status quo and that was kind of her one request before letting the other personality take over for her...

"Over" is the break-up song. I don't put it in the story, but towards the beginning, she secretly wishes to have a slow dance with Brian. She gets her wish, but kinda realizes that this isn't the way she wanted it to be.
This is something else I'm also trying to figure out how to handle it... when do the two personalities reverse position to how they were? Who breaks up with Brian? Is it Rebel Diana or her default personality?

Because one way or another, it has to lead to something that would make the following confrontation make sense. This conflict happens completely within the recesses of her own mind. Rebel Diana more or less explains what she did to achieve what she wanted to achieve for her and everything got out of hand.

I see a few reprises of the songs from the album. And I thought it'd be perfect if there was a complete role reversal here. During "Speak" the first time around, Diana's rebellious side tried to talk her into believing that she needs to say what's on her mind or she won't get anywhere near what she wants to achieve in life.
Then after everything that happens happened, Diana turns the table, almost mocking her other personality in saying "you said it wasn't going to be a big deal, that it'd be good for me. I was better off never listening to you in the first place."

One way or another... I'm not quite sure how it all works out... the two personalities kinda agree and Diana more or less becomes a combination of the two of them... a little stronger than before, a little braver, but not nearly as domineering or selfish in that "winner take all" way.

Now, getting the acceptance of the student body back... that's probably the most difficult part. As if hammering out the details of her relationship with Brian when they were together was hard enough.
But taking all of that aside, how in the WORLD am I going to make the final scene I have in mind happen?

We fast-forward to prom. Diana goes alone and ends up having a good time.
But then the dance floor parts, with Brian waiting for her to dance with him... giving her the slow dance she'd always wanted.

He gives her what sounds to me like BS... saying that he understood why she did what she did, forgives her and allows her the one thing she really wanted, just for once for someone to treat her like she was special, like she was the only one in the room.

Certainly, this is something I'd pose as a question on a series of message boards. But there are simply too many questions to ask and a lot of people probably wouldn't have the patience to weed through all of my explaining of my story.
There are so many flaws in this story that it makes me want to quit, erase it completely, but it would hurt just as much to do that as it does leaving it in limbo like this.

In all seriousness, who but me is going to buy into this story? And each time I look back at it, I wonder if I even buy into it anymore. The person having two personalities is one thing... but its another thing having this whole story painting her as the victim. How long can I hold onto that until I turn the reader against her? When she starts alienating him from everyone else, who would feel sorry for her then? She's no better than the people she'd fought against, the herd of sheep following him around.

And after all that, how can he forgive her? I see all of this coming together, but I don't know if it holds any water... if it makes any sense. Yet the entire time, I see this playing out like a movie... one song at a time, ending with one song playing to a slow dance at prom while the credits are scrolling on the other side of the screen.

They say that 1st person POV is very flawed and can only be used with certain protagonists. At the same time, with my heroine being as weak of character as she is, it feels like the story still suffers even when she's not the one telling it.

So much to do, not enough time and interest to do it in. But I hope that someday it'll work out where I can actually stand by what I've written.
The only positive I can derive for the moment: if it ever gets published, by the time that comes, everyone the story is about probably won't remember anything about the 2004-5 school year and wouldn't be able to figure out that I'd written my own reality.

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