Writing: The Story I Want to Read

I started writing essentially fanfic.  I took my five or six favorite books and smooshed them into something “novel”. Sorry for the pun, but at the time I thought I was being entirely original. It was only when I went back to it a few years later I could see what a mockery my “novel novel” was.  But I wrote the story I had wanted to read, and the fact I had read most of it before… my only excuse is that I was eleven and naive.

I still write the stories I wish I could read. I write the dragon I don’t find in other novels. I write the magic system I want to see characters explore. Sometimes I just have a snippet of a character and I find myself fleshing out why they are that way and what in their world moved them there and it motivating them forward.  Sometimes I just have a scene and I start exploring it.  Hence I have a lot of unfinished drafts. Started bits and pieces. Worlds that are built with flat characters. Characters that are living in flat worlds. Scenes without much context. Plot ideas unfinished. Villians not evil enough.

The problem is when I sometimes open one of these and start reading it.  It might be entirely vain of me to say, but I sometimes get entirely engrossed in these stories I wrote (sometimes several years ago) and then I hit this wall. It’s where I stopped writing. Maybe the plot fizzled. Maybe I wrote myself into a corner (I’ve got a bad habit of kind of trying to redeem my villians).

And sometimes I was enjoying my story all over again and I sit there in a quiet stew while I think “Why did I stop? Where did I want to go? I want to know what happened!” It’s the worst kind of reader’s regret because the only one I can blame is myself.  The downside to writing the story I want to read…