So, About That Story….

November 24, 2007

The one that I finished several days back and put away, and referred to in my post last week.  I’ve read it through, and I made a few changes.  Overall, though, I liked it.  I think.  At least I didn’t hate it.  Now I’m thinking it’s time to send it out.  

This is the part that always trips me up.  Having people read my novels?  No problem.  I have all the confidence in the world in my longer work.  But this is a different form, a different kind of story.  It’s not epic fantasy; there’s no political intrigue; there are no mages, or swords, or castles.  It’s . . . different.  And I find myself in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable position of being scared to let anyone see it.  This, of course, makes it difficult to sell the thing….

Different is good (he tells himself).  This story was fun to write precisely because it was different.  It forced me to stretch, to take chances, to go against those instincts that steer me onto familiar ground.  That’s all great, until it comes time to let someone else read it.  I stretch before I work out, too, but I’m not sure I’d want anyone to watch, and, more to the point, I’m not sure anyone really wants to see that.

A few weeks ago, when I taught at the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop conference, I was very brave on my students’ behalf.  “Polish it up,” I told one, who had written a truly excellent beginning to what I’m certain is a terrific novel.  “And then send it out!  It can’t get published if you don’t send it out.”  Such surety!  Such glib confidence!  Where is that self-assurance now that it’s my work sitting on the desk, printed and ready to go?

Established writers out there:  Am I the only one who does this?  Shouldn’t I be past this by now?  Do any of the rest of you have trouble stepping out of your comfort zone?

Today’s music:  Steps (Smokin’ in the Pit)


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