>Fear can drive people to kill, it can drive people to run, it can be a great motivator to keep a job. Fear can do a lot of things, including making a writer question their ability to write.
Fear and Characters
I find it challenging to write character-driven books. I’ve always thought myself good with plots, but characterizations have always challenged me. So I’m terrified that my characterizations won’t hold up. Particularly with reviewers who vary from gentle to scathing. Of course, I’ve never understood reviewers who sneer at misunderstandings in stories. When I read comments from reviewers who lambast writers for issues like misunderstandings, I’m sort of like, huh??? There’s actually nothing truer to life than a misunderstanding. It’s how people operate on a daily basis. People think something based on another’s actions and they get bent out of shape because of that misunderstanding. I think that IS part of characterization. It’s the psychological observations of the human kind. We all deal in misunderstandings on a daily basis. So I’d rather someone say the EXECUTION of a misunderstanding wasn’t done well. And I have to say that there are some books that reviewers rave about that I scratch my head over. I think it’s easier to say that it’s the VOICE of a writer the reviewer doesn’t resonate with as opposed to anything else.
Fear of Opinions
Anyway, because of some comments about “my” misunderstandings, I’ve been thinking that I’m a fluke when it comes to my selling books. So it’s generated this fear that I’m going to fail in my latest endeavor. Because characterization comes so hard to me, blending world building and characterization so a book is a worthwhile read is like putting a rocket together when you’re not a rocket scientist. I don’t know about other writers, but I not only edit as I go, I can always see what’s coming next, that is until this book. Perhaps it’s the complexity of it that terrifies me. I often set up challenges for myself that are too much for me. It’s one of those “set yourself up to fail” things. I’ve done it all my life, and this WIP is no different.
I’ve got three story lines in this WIP, one of which doesn’t hold much characterization at all, because the relationship is already cemented. Another one might possibly have to flow into the third book and then there’s the main relationship. So when I say with all sincerity that I was insane to try and write this book, I am not understating my madness. I had these wonderful delusions about writing a book that would create buzz, and the only thing I can say is that fear is driving me to complete it.
Fear of Obligations
Fear that my editor will hate it. Fear that if she hates it, I will have to rewrite it. Fear that if I rewrite it, I might as well slit my wrists, because I don’t know how I can meet my other obligations AND rewrite a book. I wonder if these fears will ever vanish, or if I’m the only writer who puts themselves into a white jacket like this. I still love what I’m doing, and I love writing, but I can’t remember the last time I ever felt this insecure. Ok, yeah I can. I was in high school.
The Great Motivator
Fear can be a great motivator and it can be paralyzing. When I had my came home from RWA National, I looked at my calendar and I freaked. OMG, I thought, this book is due the 15th of September. So I plowed through the book until I was about 75 pages from the end. I looked at my calendar for something completely different and was thunderstruck to see that the book isn’t due until OCTOBER 15th. *sigh* While I’m not so panic-struck at this point, I’m anxious to put this book to bed, and I was looking forward to getting working on it full speed this weekend, when it happened…the DREADED copyedits (CEs) for Kismet hit the inbox.
Fear and Copy Edits (not so fearsome)
Petrified (there’s that fear again!), I opened the document and was astounded to find that there were hardly ANY changes to the document. The CE who reviewed the document is a GODDESS, I’m going to tell my editor that I want the same CE forever! She totally improved several spots in the book by rewording sentences or removing words. I LUBS her/him! The only two issues were minor rewrites to resolve a minor plot point and a minor issue with the ending. I couldn’t believe I got through the entire document in two nights without any problem. I have to give it one more read through with all changes made and look for any last minute fixes that need to be done. These have to be back in my editor’s box by Friday the 18th (ten days is a pretty short turn around if you ask me, but I’ll manage). The next thing to come will be actual pages in the form of what are called galleys, and there ONLY typos can be corrected. No new stuff added.
Fear and It’s Effect On the Body
So, there I was almost done with the CEs and yesterday my body revolted. Bronchitis has set in and I’m sleeping 12 hours a day, lying around for 12 dozing off and on with not much energy to do anything else. This is how I started writing for publication back in 2002. Can I say how many times in the last month I’ve said to myself, “WTF were you thinking to try and do this. Why didn’t you just stick to being a reader.” There’s that fear talking.
Know what I told that little voice of fear a short while ago??? Go F#*$ yourself, I’m doing this because I love it, and don’t you dare try to stop me. I was brilliant, I tell you. BRILLIANT at looking in the mirror and saying that. Now I just have to believe it. *grin
Fear…it can be your best friend or your darkest enemy, but no matter what, I’ve a feeling it’s never going to go away. That’s the hardest lesson of all.