Teaching, the obvious, and so on · 5:14am
I have been writing MLP fanfiction for four years now. I never thought it would be how I would spend...any amount of my time, but it has been a lot of fun somehow. Unfortunately, I wasn't very good at it - a familiar condition, and one I knew how to work through, mostly by working through it.
I have rarely if ever experienced continuous improvement in any task but rather discrete jumps. Just two or three weeks ago I experienced a pretty major jump in my ability to write, which was basically the realization that stories need a main character with a motivation who faces a conflict.
It is, of course, literally the first thing you learn if you ask someone what a story needs, but it is one thing to say it and another thing to get it. Which itself is one of the first things you learn if you have ever tried to teach a subject, but it is one thing to say it and another thing to get that as well.
And I'm sure many, if not outright everyone who has been to school knows the difference between being able to spit something back on a test versus really getting it, and how rarely and unpredictably the latter happens.
Until this recent jump, I was dissatisfied with my writing. My initial foray was successful, but I was copying an existing story, the first two episodes of the first season. Creating, as I learned, is harder, and essentially a distinct and separate skill from what I was doing. My writing was probably decent enough among the masses of stories that populate this website, but I could see as I wrote that I myself would not want to read my work, and not simply because I knew how the sausage was made, so to speak.
Now, as I write, I notice both that what I write comes out very quickly - at least a thousand words a day, without investing more time than I used to - and comes out...warm-in-my-head is the way I would describe it. It is the feeling of meeting some minimum standard of "Yes, I would read this," not as the writer of it, but as a reader.
Far still to go on the unlikely path of becoming a great novelist, and I will not pursue that path anyway, but it is nice to feel that what I am very recently producing is meeting a minimum standard of competence, even if that standard is only my own. I have known for a long time where my silly story about ponies learning economics intends to go, and I finally feel confident that I can get it there.
(In other words, better content, about on par with my initial Twilight-and-friends-vs-Nightmare-Moon story, is coming in...200 days? Ish?)
I invite anyone to share stories about breakthroughs in their own writing.