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The Violet Project Diaries - Entry 2 - Don’t Be Perfect or Lazy

A diary series about the development of my writing career as a dark fantasy novelist.

By Kris LelielPublished 4 years ago 4 min read
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The Violet Project Diaries - Entry 2 -  Don’t Be Perfect or Lazy
Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Warm Up: I published a poem called “Winged” earlier. I don’t know why my stomach is churning. It’s almost nausea, but it’s not sickness. I know it’s nerves, but it’s quite uncomfortable. So referring to the first entry… yeah I have a difficult time posting any kind of work as is sometimes. I don’t mind critiques or anything, but there’s something different about, this… You know what my problem is? Everything has to be a project. Everything I do has to be ridiculously complicated so it feels “wrong” that I did something simple, like publishing an expressive poem online rather than adding it to an elaborate collection of poetry that is carefully planned. See, I’m glad this happened because this is exactly the kind of thing that holds me back from actually developing my career. I make it incredibly hard and set these crazy high standards for myself so I’m forever lost in a limbo of neither success or failure. How ridiculous! I don’t mind putting in the work I need to do, but I really need to knock off the perfectionism nonsense. It’s a creativity killer.

Okay, onto the novel.

Novel Work

By RetroSupply on Unsplash

Chapter Titles: Chapter titles don’t need to be some fancy foreshadowing. I was planning on doing that at first, but this is dark fantasy. I don’t want too much foreshadowing. I want immersion. So I changed the chapter titles to just be the name of the character who is the focus of the chapter, that way there’s more of a shifting perspective in the same world.

Undeveloped Characters: The unfortunate thing about writing a first draft is you’ll eventually run into an undeveloped character who is really just a blob of annoyance if you don’t make a plan for them. Well the parent of my protagonist is lacking incredibly…

Distractions: There was a spider in the sink and I had to resubmit the poem because it wasn’t long enough. Oops.

Back to Work: Okay, now the mother of my protagonist has more shape to them. Recently, I had to reevaluate the themes of the novel so that the role of each character was cohesive with plot itself. Nobody likes random characters that are just there, let alone have to pay attention to them for a chapter or two. I know there are some writers who think keeping a character vague is “mysterious”, but even if that were the genuine intention, it always gets misinterpreted as lazy writing. Being called lazy happens, but it still sucks. I had to take some time to develop the personality and history of the protagonist’s mother because it is WAY too often that the protagonist’s parents are totally ignored. I blame a lot of cartoons and half-baked YA fiction for that one because the partial-absence of a protagonist’s parents omits the protagonist’s origin story as well! I get it if you have a main character who is an orphan or has other types of guardians in their lives and that absence of parental influence is meant to be haunting, but when there are parents, the parents should be people and people are complicated.

Other than shaping up a character, I also had to omit about half of a chapter that was getting too “meta”. I would’ve been pretty hypocritical to add that because it was just as vague as the mysterious, not-so-mysterious character. I have to admit, sometimes when you’re writing about another realm or metaphysical world for your protagonist (even if it is more of a mind palace like in Sherlock), it can be incredibly difficult not to be cliche at this point. If your protagonist has the “chosen one” archetype, I am so sure audiences are so over them having a hero’s journey that involves a literal underworld (representing the subconscious) or an alter ego (because we all have that “dark side). I don’t think it’s a bad plot device, but I do think we need to address this concept in a way that’s less obvious and less dualistic for our older readers. As I said earlier, people are complicated. When we get older, we learn that events in life aren’t black and white at all. Some life events introduce us to colors we’ve never seen before and even one new color can completely transform your perception. I guess that’s why I’ve created a protagonist who understands that. I’m still saving room for character development, of course, but one thing my protagonist is driven to do is to not turn a blind eye to newly discovered truths. My gut tells me that desire won’t translate well to the audience if my protagonist is pulling a Neo and “beginning to believe”, as we have seen time and time again. In fact, I’m excited my protagonist is a resilient truth seeker in a world of deception and is nowhere near being anyone’s hero.

Overall, today was a productive day. It feels really good to be back in the swing of things.

Thanks for reading

Read my horror short story "Autonomy Bleeds Black". It needs some critique.

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About the Creator

Kris Leliel

Kris Leliel is a strange writer who posts about the occult and spirituality, goth stuff, horror, creative writing, mental health, and her own creative ventures. She has a Masters in Liberal Studies and a BA in English & Psychology.

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