by Terri Wagner
I write for fun as well as for profit. In one capacity, I write for a trade publication/reporter; at home, I write stories about lives I might have lived (cop, spy, trust fund brat, etc.) with an LDS sister I've known for 30 years (hard as that is to believe).
We keep getting stuck. For a few years, we had fun with our characters, threw in silly cop/investigator type plots, romance when it was deemed appropriate and ended the story when the "mystery" was solved. We printed them out, added photos from the Internet for visual appeal, bound them and re read them now and again.
We also wrote short stories for various contests, winning some, losing most, trying out different things. We created a bunch of characters we've fallen in love with and intend to use in a "real" novel "some day." (We all know about some days don't we?)
But lately, my fellow fun writer has turned serious in what is supposed to be fun. Suddenly, she wants more realistic plots, more complications, more "real" romance (as in they argue, gripe and sometimes not even like each other). I myself am not really happy with this turn of events, but let's face it, the old stuff was getting just that old.
Here's the problem: I think we're getting too complicated. We find ourselves in plots that we can't solve ourselves. I'm always wanting the bad guy to confess so we can move on to the next cute scene while she's always telling me, that's too easy. We argue more than we write.
It's not fun anymore. But oddly my writing skills are improving, my creativity is being stretched and the characters are more real. I know in my head you have to stretch as an author. Write in a different genre just to refresh the basics. But stubbornly I don't like it even though it's working.
So let's not tell her she's right for pushing for more; let's just let me grumble here and re read the old silly stuff for fun alone at night under the covers with the flashlight, oh and the obligatory stash of peanut M&Ms.