The big question at the time was…”What if I just gave up?”
That’s the honest truth. When I first came up with the ‘Story Brat’ idea for Imagine Magazine, I was feeling frustrated and a bit hurt by some of the comments that I was getting from readers at the time. Not that the comments were negative concerning the newest chapters that I had been writing and adding to the site. But by the fact those chapters were completely ignored and overshadowed by demands for something else. Unless you’ve actually experienced it for yourselves, I’m not sure that the feeling can really be put into words. To pour your heart and emotions into something significant, and have people not only dismiss it, but criticize you for it. To completely disregard the hard work you put in, not appreciate it, and then complain that it wasn’t what they wanted personally. Hey…if I wasn’t at least a LITTLE bit thin skinned…I wouldn’t be able to bring a lot of those emotions to write what I write to the surface for your enjoyment. So, yeah…sometimes it gets to me. Especially when it comes from multiple places at once. And I’m not alone in feeling this way.
I’ll never forget one night that I was watching an episode of The Simpsons, and Marge was making breakfast for her family. She really wanted to make it special for them. She made pancakes, and made eggs and bacon, and made the pancakes look like they were smiley faces. She prepared everything to perfection, put all this hard work in, set the table, and called them to eat…hoping that they would notice the extra effort. And of course…the RUN into the kitchen, don’t say a WORD, and it’s just “GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE…BELCH!!! Later! You clean up and do the dishes! Later!” That’s EXACTLY how it feels sometimes! And sometimes WORSE! Thanks a lot. You made leaps and bounds towards inspiring me to sit here at this keyboard and rushing to put out the next chapter. Thanks for being a fan.
I don’t think readers know how much influence a few positive or constructive comments can have on a writer. Taking ten seconds to say, “I liked this chapter. Thanks.” can have a MASSIVE effect on whether you get the next chapter in six days, or six weeks, or six YEARS. It has always baffled me that so few people understand that in this day and age.
So, on this particular day, I think I had posted a chapter that had some difficult and complex emotions included, and the first responses were basically, “I don’t like this story! Why don’t you write something I like? Write this instead! Come on, stop making us wait?” Really? Stop making you wait? I pray you guys never experience how much that sucks to hear that. It’s like buying somebody a birthday or a Christmas present, and having them say it’s stupid and throwing it in the trash right in front of your face. I’d rather they said nothing at all. It hurts less. BUT…this isn’t anything new for me. It happens all the time. So much so, that I always wait until I have a bunch of chapters ready to go before I post anything at all, and why there are huge gaps between posts in general. Because I can’t post one story without being trashed over two or three others. Saying, “This chapter was awesome! Too bad I’ll have to wait months for the next one! I guess we’ll just suffer until then!” is NOT really a compliment. I mean…thanks. Seriously. But still…
But what’s the solution? ‘Haters gotta hate’, right? Hehehe! Please understand, I know my flaws well. I do see things from the other side of the equation, and I’d be aggravated too if I was on the other side of the fence. I wouldn’t verbally harass the author to get my way…but I totally get what they’re so angry about. But there really isn’t anything that I can do about it. I think that gets lost in the mix somewhere. I HAVE to sleep! I HAVE to work for a living! I HAVE to spend time with friends and family! I’m not a robot. I don’t have a crack team of highly paid professionals handling my affairs and answering my emails and running my Twitter account and my Youtube and cooking my meals, etc. It’s JUST me. Nobody else. So, the only solutions are…I can let it build up until I explode and rant and rave and hurt the people closest to me by making a rage-filled announcement about how I just want to be left the hell alone (Which has happened more than a few times, believe me)…
Or…I can try to understand why certain people react the way they do, and attempt to have a sense of humor about it. A sarcastic sense of humor, but at least I can try to make light of the situation and work harder to correct the problem. I chose the latter option.
I’ve been known to make fun of myself, my mistakes, my outbursts, and my shortcomings, in many of the stories that I’ve written over the years. And there are times when I’ve angrily vented my true feelings in those stories as well. So why not try to entertain that one, original question, again…and put it into story form. And THAT was the birth of the “Story Brat” section.
TurtleBoy was always one of my online friends that I felt comfortable ‘venting’ to when I was the one in need of a shoulder to lean on. As they say, every psychiatrist should have a psychiatrist of their own. You know? And after being completely FED UP one night, I spilled my guts out to him about how hard I was working and how much it hurt to have people treat me that way…and I finally calmed down enough to laugh at myself and come up with this idea. What if I gave people what they ‘told’ me they wanted. What if I just RUSHED through everything and didn’t give a damn? What if I didn’t work hard on plot or character arcs? What if I didn’t waste time on detail and creating an immersive experience for readers to involve themselves in? What if I ‘glossed over’ MAJOR issues in the story, and didn’t give the love any reason for existing, or give the sex enough detail to be erotic? What if my one and only goal was to hurry up and to get to the end, without really saying anything meaningful or important in the long run? It would be a hell of a lot easier, wouldn’t it? I could write a story like that in an hour. I could update almost every single day, and everything would be complete, and it would take me no effort at all. In fact, I can make a name for myself by being the ‘go-to’ guy for quick stroke material without much of a sacrifice to the rest of my day. Why not? The first three ‘Story Brat’ were written as satire, based on those kinds of stories, in a single night. I doubt it took me more than 90 minutes to do all three. But hey, they’re ‘complete’. People can burn through them in a few minutes and then walk away and forget them ten minutes later.
You guys are dealing with a romantic in me. Hehehe, I’m sorry. Goofy and corny as it may seem…I always wanted more than the ‘boy meets boy’ scenario, where they get together and just have sex. It’s ‘hot’, sure…but I kind of liked setting things up to be a bit more complex than that. I like the angst. I like the doubt and the hesitation. I like the fantasy of getting a shot at someone that you once thought was so far out of your league. A little drama goes a long way, and (for me) it gives the sex, the relationship, and even that very first kiss…SO much more meaning! My earlier stories were swift and passionate and a release of intense sexual tension. But over time, I learned to appreciate writing stories with depth, and backstory, and layered characters with relatable motivations, in a story. I feel that this is where the real eroticism comes from. And that kind of planning and dialogue and plot takes time. A LOT of time. At least if you want it done right.
The ‘Story Brat’ section is my way of poking fun at the critics who use the time between chapters as their only argument. Hehehe, it’s not meant to be mean. It’s poking fun at myself too, for making you all wait so long. But I wanted to give everyone a look at what my stories would be if I just took the simple and easy way out, and gave everyone what they said they wanted from me. A quick story that was finished from beginning to end, with no real thought or heart involved. Just something ‘complete’. Because they won’t read it, otherwise. Ok. Well, here ya go! This is what a story without detail, drama, love, and a romantic author’s care, looks like. Enjoy!
I hope that folks get the humor behind one person trying to appease the wants and needs of thousands at a time, but it’s my way of dealing with the depressing feeling that I won’t ever be able to please everybody, no matter how hard I work. In the meanwhile…at least give me the chance to get some of those same critics to share a laugh with me while I try to give my other stories my all. I’ve come WAY too far to just put forth a half assed effort now just because a few people have an OCD craving to immediately hurry up and finish another one of my stories, roll over, and go to sleep without me enjoying an orgasm too. RUDE!!! LOL!
Anyway, between ‘fun’ and ‘frustration’, “Story Brat” was born! And it’s just my way of trying to turn something that once really bothered me into something positive that I could have fun with, and share with people who (I hope) might get a kick out of it as well. It gives me a chance to recognize my own fault in this whole thing, while still poking fun at the people who can be particularly hurtful about it all. Let’s take the ‘sting’ out of the situation and let off some steam so I can get back to doing what I do best. Nobody leaves this life saying, “I wish I had laughed LESS!” Right? Hehehe!
Also, other times in the past when I had to translate the, sometimes, ABUSIVE, comments that I had gotten online concerning my stories and the demands made for me to hurry up…I felt the need to step back and just take a breather so that I could have a more balanced perspective on what was really going on. They’re not bad people. I just wish I could somehow convey how difficult it is to do what I do. To create characters, and a story, and plot, and drama, and dialogue, and put it all together in a way that people can read and understand and cling to. Writing isn’t just ‘typing’. I can type a random email to someone in ten minutes. I can’t do that with a story. That’s a whole other ball game. It takes more heart and emotion than non-writers may realize, and it leaves you emotionally drained afterwards. How can I better get them to understand that than through humor? How else can they get an idea of what they put me through?
And that’s where these two Youtube videos came from on my Comicalityshack Youtube Channel came from! It was my positive method of release so that I could get my smile back and get back to work on stories that people loved and have been supporting from the very beginning. It’s like a descent into total hysteria as I try to keep up with a small selection of people who may not actually realize what miraculous feats they’re asking me to accomplish in such a short amount of time. (Yes! Writing a complete, meaningful, story in a couple of MONTHS is an extremely short amount of time…if you’ve ever written a story before. Which, most of them haven’t. I only have 24 hours in a day, just like everybody else.) But, all that aside, I had a BLAST putting these together! And I go back and watch them again when the pressure is weighing heavy on me again. They make me smile, even though I created them when I was initially hurting over what was going on at the time.
These two videos remind me that I’m only human. And that I am giving 150% of my time and energy into being the best author that I can be. Flaws and all. As long as I remember to give it my all…then I can keep going. There are people who believe in me. People who love what I do. I write for them first.
The others? I appreciate the attention. But I can’t just be their personal genie in a bottle. I don’t grant wishes. I can only share my heart and soul with you a little bit at a time. And that time is dictated by the rest of my life, which…as we all know…doesn’t always work in our favor or go to plan. I can only hope that what I do is enough. And if not, that I’m able to bear the brunt of the backlash from being less than amazing on those days when I can’t exactly be what you guys need me to be.
This may sound dark, but it really isn’t! LOL! It’s fun! I promise. If I can laugh at myself, then hopefully those few individuals can too. Just remember that creativity is fueled by response. By encouragement. By support. If what you say is working against that…not just for me, but when it comes to ANYTHING that you love (movies/books/music/etc)…then you are guaranteeing that things will only take longer. And you may not get anything else at all. I’ve tried to talk many an online author out of giving up on their writing in the past…and it hasn’t always worked. What incentive do they have to listen to me when their fans don’t support them?
Just food for thought. K?