Having fun while writing is something I’d almost forgotten about sometime around the time I actually tried to edit the shit out of my first novel, but, luckily, got back to it in the years following the dreaded publication in 2017.
Since, apparently, it seems to be a weird issue among the general public—like, shouldn’t you be writing for art, not for fun?—I realized I had something to say on the subject, if only by listing a few of the ways I’ve had fun while commiting fiction in the past few years.
So it happened that I wrote the weirdest sex scene ever (and the only person who has read it so far hasn’t commented on it, so I can’t say if it even worked of it was too much over the top!) and lived to tell the tale. I’m still not sure what anybody will think—or if anyone will even appreciate it, at all. I still do. (I have no idea how to top it, for the characters in question—and I’m not sure I’m even supposed to try.)
I based one of my favourite characters ever on a cameo role of an actress I kinda like in a movie I kinda disliked. Luckily, the character proved to be nothing like either of them, and she kinda sorta almost stole the novel from right under my actual main character. I’m waiting for my betas’ opinion for that, too, but I can live with it either way because she’s so. awesome.
I based my first ever villain on a great actor’s portrayal of a less than great villain in his younger days in a movie that hadn’t aged well. Luckily, I have no problems with being a child of the nineties. (I still have a problem with writing villains, though.) And then I read about one of my favourite writers doing something similar with one of her major characters, so that was double fun.
If the answer to a question about a plot point was ‘yes, people will squick’, I sometimes still did it, anyway. If the answer is ‘my mother will squick a lot‘, sometimes I didn’t. Maybe sad, but I’m okay with it all the way.
I’ve had readers say, to my face, ‘yes, this book needs (more) lesbian sex’, which is still one of the weirdest things to ever happen to me. And, most definitely, one of the most fun.
I stopped worrying and actually used my Architecture History diploma in my writing, because why the hell not. Not everybody will notice—or even care—but it helps me write on, keep motivated and have fun.
I’ve deliberately made wearing excessive gloves a characterization point for a major character. And I’ve described a few of the different pairs they own. It still remains to be seen whether the habit will play an actual role in the plot or not—and I don’t care if it doesn’t.
I ventured into the unknown (to me) and decidedly problematic local history—so problematic, in fact, I keep getting scared daily for ever thinking about writing in it—and did a novel inspired by it in a little over a month. (If you know anything about Croatia, you probably know that our history, no matter which part, is always problematic.) It was one of the most fun novels I’ve ever written, and most definitely the fastest I’ve ever come to a manageable copy. Sometimes you do just have to follow whatever it is inside you that makes you tick—even against all reason.
I started a novel with a breakup, once. Unfortunately, I’ve never finished it—but it was still a huge milestone for me, a dedicated romance reader with a strong belief that every book deserves a HEA. (Khm, the main character from said novel was supposed to get their HEA indeed, but—surprise, surprise—with a totally different person than the one they started out with. Gasp!)
I wrote two scenes in a novel, recently, which are basically my versions of the famous trope where a character (usually in a movie) enters a room, and the room is dark, and there’s somebody waiting for them in an armchair and they have no idea who it is. The first time, it ended with a romantic encounter, and the second time, of course, with a gun aimed at the character. *heart eyes*
I stopped trying to write what I ‘should’ be writing and wrote a (historical) werewolf romance. And the weirdest thing happened—it actually made me move forward as a writer in a way no socially conscious sci-fi (or urban fantasy) I’ve ever tried doing had. So there’s that.
Oh, and in November 2019, I wrote 63k of fiction and almost 20k words of non-fiction (here!) and nothing bad happened! Only fun.
So, when someone says that writing prose should be art and/or work and/or suffering… Sure, but only if I’m having fun first.