While drafting a third-person short to play with the idea of idleness, it became clear that Narrative Loserdom would be a boy’s journal, and nothing more. There was a point of dread in knowing I would be attempting to mimic a style of writing that desired no audience. How do you market your writing without attempting to appeal to some demographic? Then again, this was also the most liberating and attractive quality—the freedom to write about whatever, without the limiting hands of characterization and plot. After all, if teenage boys do keep journals (innately private retellings), what are the chances they worry about such elements? More importantly, does it matter if they don’t?
At some point, we all experience the momentary thrill that comes from doing what we shouldn’t. Whatever forbidden course you’ve pursued, it tends to rise up with boastful potency and tickle your ego. The idea of delving into someone’s private thoughts affords such a feeling, and effectively contributes to the curiosity surrounding the journal, as younger siblings everywhere can attest. Despite the journalist’s subject or presentation, it’s sinfully fascinating.
Throughout the writing process there was a thought in the back of my mind, that if I could just capture the reader in that state of curiosity, we would all be okay. But even if it were possible, the temporary rush would eventually flicker out, leaving the poor reader with little more than the ramblings of adolescence. This is where the excuse of “realism” came in. Ah yes, the old respectable mainstay. Why work so hard to create a story when you can just write about what really happens? It was perfect, and could be used to legitimize the finished product when second-guessed by suspicious critics. From that point, long description and vague characterization rained down like black gold.
Fun as it was, embarking on an artistically-licensed spree had sacrificed the one thing I’d previously identified as the whole point: a boy’s journal. The voice had matured into something unnaturally “wise,” and lacked the lightheartedness and simplicity from before. Without question, it was time to get back.
After more than a few painstaking edits (because sometimes you fall in love with your own drivel), it finally felt like my narrator had returned. On the whole, the process of making a journal encompassed all the highs and lows of any writing I’d attempted before, but with an added demand of loyalty that seemed to come from the creation itself. It appears there was an audience after all.
About The Author
Ryan Collins was born in Texas in 1985. While attending Texas State University he earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a minor in writing, and moved toward a post-graduate degree in computer information systems. In the company of a few unpublished short stories, Narrative Loserdom represents his first self-published novel. Ryan works for a local communications company in Austin, Texas, where he resides with his girlfriend and pugs.
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