Over the last week or so, I've seen the difference firsthand, and it's been really striking.
For two years, as I worked on Catgirl Roommate, I was writing a story I liked.
I had lots of funny material to share, I enjoyed the way the protagonist's character development caught me by surprise, and it was an interesting challenge to write a genre I'd never written before.
Apparently it worked out well, judging by the fact that when one of my friends was partway through it, he was laughing so hard he couldn't speak.
Unfortunately, I've got a dirty confession to make:
While I did like the story, I wasn't obsessed with it. And although I liked the characters - well, most of them - I wasn't in love with them.
As a result, writing Catgirl Roommate was more difficult than most of my other projects, and I enjoyed the process less than I did when I was working on stories where the characters really tugged on my heartstrings.
After I finished Catgirl Roommate in December, I didn't do much fiction writing for a while, because I had a lot of client projects and I was focusing most of my creative time on my Undertale webcomic, Just Cause.
Now that one, frankly, I AM obsessed with.
Sure, it's fanfiction. Sure, it's not one of my novels. But the relationships that grew inside this story, and the character development that blossomed within those relationships... these are a few of my favorite things.
Some of the characters became so psychologically complex, some of their bonds with each other deepened in such beautiful ways, and there are so many little running themes and symbols (I'll admit, I'm a sucker for those)... I'm just so in love with this story.
But the trouble with telling a long story via webcomic - especially when you feel a compulsive need to add lots of layers of shading instead of just basic cel shading - is that, while a picture is worth a thousand words, it takes a thousand times longer to create.
It took months of drawing, and several pages of comic, to work my way through what would be a single scene in a written story. And, over time, I began to get frustrated with how long it was taking to get the story out there.
I have so many scenes that are burning in my heart, and I want them out there now!
So I decided it was time to do what I'd been procrastinating on for a while, and start actually writing the story.
When I did, I was stunned by what happened.
I already had an outline, so I didn't need to figure out what was involved in each scene. I could just go ahead and write, and boy, did I write!
Where it used to be a challenge to get 300 words written in one day - partly because I had to make sure that as many of those words as possible were funny - now, I was EASILY writing 800 to 1,000 words or more. Sometimes over 2,000.
This, despite the fact that I'm also running a business that sometimes keeps me busy for 12 hours a day.
Now, going by chapter count, I'm almost halfway through the story. Barring unexpected delays, I should be done by the end of February, easily.
And then I can continue gradually working my way through the comic version of it, one thousand-word picture at a time.
Do I regret spending so much time on Catgirl Roommate?
Not at all. Even though I wasn't as thoroughly in love with it as I am with my current story, I still enjoyed it, and I still believe it was a story worth telling.
People are still laughing until they choke because of it, and who knows - maybe Sam's growth as a person will inspire other people to see where they can grow, too.
In the meantime, I have stories to write, things to draw, a neglected YouTube channel to create music videos for, and maybe even some healthy self-care to squeeze in between my content creation and business-running.
I'm three scenes away from getting to the part of the story where the backstory is revealed, and I've been dying write that backstory for so long... I LOVE the relationship between these two characters...
*Gives a totally undignified squeal and runs off to work out and write*
Now it's your turn.
Have you written stories you liked, and stories you love, and noticed the difference? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!