Showing posts with label temporary insanity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label temporary insanity. Show all posts

That Thing Where I Draw: Masks or Filters?

I often feel like there's two Adams, and I'm always afraid one of them is a mask. Maybe both of them. I worry about a future in which I meet some of you in person -- or that one of you who DOES know me in person will notice something amiss -- and you find out one of these is a fake.

But the more I think about it, the more I think there's just one me. It's not that I'm putting on a mask; I couldn't put on an act like that for very long if it didn't come from something real inside of me. The truth is probably more like this:

Depending on how I know you, you might get a different version of me. But it's still me. Social Adam is not very social (I can hear my wife laughing). Online Adam is only social because that's the whole point of being online. My sometimes-grumpiness doesn't show up here because I filter it out (usually). In many social situations (like with scary people, new people, situations where I have to talk, situations without food or a movie, or any other time in which I cannot hide from the attention of others), my heavy filters pop up, and what you get might appear very different.

But it's all me. I swear.

Does anyone else get like this?

Another Look at Revision Fears

When I started writing Travelers, it was just to prove to myself that I could do it, I could finish a novel. Sometime during that process, though, I decided (possibly because other people said so, though I don't remember now) that Travelers might be good enough to get published.

That was before I knew anything about the publishing industry. Before I'd read Nathan's FAQ, the Questions and Face Lifts on Evil Editor, or every single Query Shark query. Regardless, once I got that idea in my head, whatever I was working on became The One That Would Get Me There.

This was mostly a good thing. It made me work hard and write with confidence. But now, as I plan my third novel and prepare to revise my second, I'm discovering this idea has a dark side. The newest novel is the one that will get published (in my head), therefore my old novel -- the one I have to revise -- is not.

I'm wondering if this is the real reason I stopped work on Travelers even though I'd gotten a couple of enlightening personal rejections. Because I'm looking at the work it will take to get Air Pirates to a place I'm happy with, and I wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to write novel #3.

It wouldn't, of course. I'd get to the end of The Cunning, send it to beta readers, and the cycle would start again with novel #4. Nothing will get published if I don't revise it, usually multiple times.

Plus, I really, really like Air Pirates. It's a world I want to write at least a trilogy in, if not more. That, more than anything, is why I will polish that thing until my spit hurts. Really, all this self-doubt is just because I haven't started yet.

Trying New Things

Although I love planning and starting new novels, it makes me a little crazy too. I mean, in addition to all the normal worries (e.g. am I wasting my time? will I ever get published? if the previous novel(s) didn't get me an agent, what makes me think this one will? etc.), I have worries about new things.

I have to try new things. Unless it's a sequel, I need new characters, a new world, and a whole new idea, otherwise, what's the point? But new things are scary.

For example, The Cunning will be the first time I've tried writing a female protagonist.* Not only that, but she's a teenager. I don't know if I can do that convincingly. What if I'm trying something I'm just not good enough to write yet?

And Suriya doesn't even speak English. Am I going to have a lot of dialogue tags with "she said in Thai"? Will Suriya and Anna** have telepathic dialogue the entire time? What about the times Anna tries to speak to Suriya in English and she doesn't understand?

It also looks as though the entire first book (I think in trilogies) takes place in Thailand. I wanted to give this story something unique from my experience, but I'm afraid I'm going overboard with it -- including every little thing I know about this place. Even crazier, what if it does work, everybody loves it, but they're all disappointed because Book 2 takes place in the US?***

What if I can't find Suriya's voice? What if I do and it's no good? What if I can't bring the humor from Air Pirates into this story? What if I force the humor in and it doesn't fit?

I'm being totally stupid, I know (and thank you for caring enough to read this far, btw). Ultimately this is just a fear of failure I need to get over. The truth is if I don't try new things, I'll never know the answers to any of those what-ifs and I'll never get to tell Suriya's story.

I keep thinking that if this doesn't work it will be a year (or more) wasted writing this story, but the only way it would be wasted is if I didn't learn anything. What I really need to do is stop writing to get published and start writing for me again.

Hey, how about that? The crazy's gone.

* No, wait. The original "Joey Stone" had one, but she wasn't a teenager. Also, that story wasn't very good.

** For those of you
following along, Charity's name is now Anna.

*** Think that's crazy? I'm also thinking, "What if I can't write Book 2 because I haven't lived in the US for 4 years?"

An Inability to Manage Expectations

It doesn't matter how low my odds are, or how many times I do it, whenever I enter a contest or send out a query (which, really, is just another kind of contest), I get all hopeful and excited and daydreamy and, basically, set myself up for a let down. I can't help it. No matter how much I try to tell myself it's not gonna happen, part of me refuses to believe it.

This goes for beta reading too. Right now, Air Pirates is in the hands of real people - with eyes and thoughts. Over the next few weeks they're going to tell me what they think of it. I constantly catch myself thinking, "They're going to love it, and I'm going to send it out right away." That's stupid, I know. I've been doing this how long, and I still think someone will say it's perfect??

Of course then I go the other way. I start thinking about what they might say, and suddenly I notice everything that's wrong with the story. I know what they're going to say. Well you don't have to say it, all right? It's terrible, I know!

You see my problem? The only thing I can do is stop thinking about it, but that's hard. Especially when I talk to my beta readers. There's this voice begging me to say, "So do you like it? Oh please tell me you like it. Wait, what if you don't? Never mind, don't tell me. Oh, but I can already see it in your eyes..."

It goes on like this. Now, listen. If you're one of my beta readers, I'm not fishing for compliments or early opinions here. Don't tell me anything until you've finished reading it, really. It wouldn't help. If you liked it, I'd be all, "They like it! I'll be able to send it out, I know it. But wait, what if they get to the end and they change their mind? Oh no, they're going to be so disappointed!"

And if you were more honest, told me you didn't like it... well, that's something I deal with better if I can focus on the reasons, the critique itself.

I'm such a mess. Fortunately I have distractions today. No fireworks (the Embassy has a party, but we can't bring our kids without IDs), but there's Transformers 2 and bowling with the kids. That's a good day.