Sunday 4 October 2020

Nerd Church - The Writer Diaries: Oh, the Melodrama!


(Warning: this post briefly discusses overthinking and Anxiety/Depression)

In its previous life, my WIP, written by teenage-Cee over a decade ago, was melodramatic as f**k.

As in, there were kidnappings, and murders, and guns, and a secret child, and... if you can think of a plot-twist, it was probably in there. Plus a few more for luck.

And while the current version of These Ghosts of Ours is much, much, less ballistic, the memory of that previous version has left me constantly questioning the emotion-y bits and plot developments.

'The Writer Diaries: Oh, The Melodrama!' written in typeset on a piece of paper coming out of a typewriter

It's difficult - because obviously you want the emotional bits to be emotional - but if you don't strike the right balance, then it comes over as a soap opera on caffeine.

...And I'd rather it didn't come across as Pobol Y Cwm (Welsh-language soap,) if at all possible. 

Elderly woman in a church (from Pobol Y Cwm): Beth?! (English: What?!)
English: WHAT?!
Via Giphy

Don't get me wrong - there's a place for soap opera style shenanigans. 

It's just not a place I want to be in, tbh. 

I'm not a fan of soap operas, and its not the kind of thing I want to write.

So how do I write the big stuff - the big plot points, the dramatic moments - without tipping that balance?

...That's not a rhetorical question. I actually don't know.

Because if I try too hard to take the over-dramatic stuff out, I'm gonna end up tipping the balance too far the other way, and be stuck with a flat plot and boring characters.

And obviously, no-one wants that.

Maybe it's yet another symptom of me putting too much pressure on myself - it's entirely possible that nothing in this version is melodramatic at all.

But I am notoriously harsh on myself and the things I write, dearest nerdlets.

It's not that I'm aiming for perfect - I just want it to be perfectly imperfect. Y'know, the right level of imperfect 😅

And at what point does it even become melodramatic? When does emotional become overly-emotional - to the extent that it becomes inauthentic?

Because I did some pretty extensive googling - and there was an entire lack of consensus.

And that leaves me worrying that any angst and/or gothickyness is potentially melodramatic.

...And I'm not sure I can abandon all angst. I know I can't abandon all gothickyness - everything I write has at least an element of gothickyness!

I'm probably over-thinking this.

I'm not gonna deny that - it's sometimes hard to tell where the Anxiety/Depression thoughts end and the non-affected thoughts, the ones that are mine and not the illness, begin.

But f**k it - I'll keep writing anyway! And hopefully it won't turn out too melodramatic!

So, do you have any tips for avoiding melodrama? Do you know where the line even is between melodrama and just emotional?

Talk to me! 😅💬

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  1. I don’t really write a lot of angsty things but I think it’s healthy to be angsty sometimes! I certainly love reading angst. But of course, you have to write what’s best for your mental health. If the angst is getting you down, well then write something a little lighthearted. Some balance is good.

    1. Ha, I actually like writing darker and/or angsty stuff - I just worry that it makes it too over-dramatic! (I could write angst all day every day, but I know if I read it back it won't be what I want it to be!)


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