My Greatest Writing Fear. What's Yours?

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moderntimes
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Re: My Greatest Writing Fear. What's Yours?

Post by moderntimes » 20 Jul 2015, 22:12

Fascinating story, robert. Thanks for sharing.

I had my first 2 mystery novels published a couple years back by a small non-vanity house. But they soon were acquired by another publisher who turned the biz into a semi-subsidy venture, asking authors to pay for ads in the trades and elsewhere. I said "no" and they dropped both my books from print, the copyright reverting to me. Which is fine, because last week another publisher has taken on all three of my novels extant and will be publishing them new, print and e-book both. So sometimes things work out for the better.

Anyway I got a few very good reviews online via Amazon and a nice mention by a noted mystery writer. This same author has read excerpts of my new 3rd novel and has promised the publisher some good cover blurbs / promotional quotes. This is significant because he's one of the premiere private detective novelists today. It's equivalent to your writing a supernatural thriller and Stevie King giving you a cover blurb to help sales. The writer may not be known in the big world but among private detective writers, his word is gold.

I am sorry you got a couple of bad reviews. The one person who downgraded your book because it was another apocalyptic story (even if it wasn't) was wrong wrong wrong. Whether the reviewer had seen too many of this genre is not the issue at all. It's entirely irrelevant. What matters is how well YOUR book was written. Duh.

Don't worry about the italics thing. Real life reviewers skip over small stuff like that and don't give it a second's thought. If however the book is fully of mechanical errors, it will be mentioned in the review, but only to diss the publisher, not the author. It's the publisher's duty to ensure the book is mechanically correct, even though the author still has galley proof review before printing.

What a REAL reviewer does is comment on the quality of the writing. Style, rhythm, balance, good narrative, lively dialogue, and so on. Of course there are textual errors that aren't typos, such as writing a crime thriller and getting the gun facts totally and stupidly wrong. That does deserve a mention, because whatever genre you're writing, you must get your facts right.

I reviewed a lone wolf bad/good guy thriller that made very little sense, plot and factual stuff was wrong all thru the novel. He had lots of gun smoke concealing a gunfight. Er, dude, it's called smokeless powder for a reason, and it's been used in guns for over a century. You never really see smoke from a muzzle, let alone obscuring a crime scene. Errors like that in a supposedly serious and non-farce book need to be mentioned. It's like writing a legal thriller and not knowing what a voir dire is. Or a medical novel and having the doctor order "A positive Rh negative blood" -- dumb mistakes require a slight downcheck and deserve mention.

Why? Because there are plenty of other books out there by new and upcoming writers where the author took extreme pains to get everything perfect, and so a sloppy presentation deserves to be marked down.

But your strange omission of the italics? I'd have never mentioned in a review. I might however email the agent or publisher contact and let them know, just to be nice.

Incidentally, with the new publisher offering to contract for all 3 of my novels, I just this minute finished re-reading and performing minor edits on the 1st novel. And hey, I found 3 typos, a missing closed quote and a missing apostrophe among the errors. I'm however now pretty certain that the typos are gone. At least I hope they are! ha ha
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Post by youngmind » 21 Jul 2015, 11:30

My greatest writing fear is not being able to keep up with it. For instance I might get really into writing a new piece but then halfway though decide that I don't want to keep writing. Then I would feel like writing the first part would be a waste of my time.

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Post by moderntimes » 21 Jul 2015, 15:29

My question, young, is this: Why do you write at all? I'm wondering how many times you've started a story and only got halfway with it?

It's not always breezy and keen being a writer. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to get with a project and keep working. Eventually the story will be done, and then we can look back on something that we finished. And start a new project.

I can tell you that I had a lot of false stops and starts when I wrote my first novel. I told myself that I'd never be able to write a whole novel and kept putting off the work. But eventually I got the impetus from inside myself and knuckled down and finished the book. Now I've written 3 novels and I'm working on the 4th.

So yes it takes determination but it can be done if we just get ourselves in hand and keep plugging away. All writers feel frustration at times and want to quit. What we must do is persuade ourselves that we need to complete the task. Thing is, if you're at work you've "got to" finish that report or project because your boss and your colleagues need the work done. If you're a writer doing freelance, you yourself must provide that energy. And the only way to conquer that fear of not finishing is to finish. There's simply no other secret to it.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 21 Jul 2015, 15:30

I always finish everything I write. I find it pointless to get to the

-- July 21st, 2015, 4:36 pm --

:P

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Post by Kate_Guinn81 » 21 Jul 2015, 15:46

My greatest writing fear is just not writing. I fear never finishing a work that I'm proud of. There are so many times I've started something and then just let it molder away in my notebook or computer.

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Post by moderntimes » 21 Jul 2015, 16:30

Well, the hardest two words to write are "The End" but you just gotta ramp up the energy and get that piece done, finished, ended, etc. ha ha

-- 21 Jul 2015, 20:06 --

Found a cure for writer's block! A friend of mine posted this:

Image
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Post by kitsune1997 » 21 Jul 2015, 22:54

I actually have two greatest fears. The first is that people won't like what I wrote. I have a pretty bad self confidence so even posting it somewhere is nerve wrecking. But my other fear is that people outside of those I allow (my proofreaders who are my best friends) read it while I am still writing and tell me. After that, I lose all drive to write and it will take me a while to start again

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Post by moderntimes » 22 Jul 2015, 06:57

Well, kitsune, my first question would be: For whom are you writing?

If you're writing a personal diary or chapbook, then your deep personal thoughts and reflections may be so individually unique and personal that you really don't wish to share them, and that's perfectly valid.

However, if you're writing, say, a short story, then the story is MEANT to go out to readers via selling that story to a magazine or e-zine. The point being, your writing is for general readership consumption. That's why you're writing it -- to get into print.

If that's not the purpose of your writing, and instead your writing is meant for personal reflection, then yes, keep it close to the chest and naturally be reluctant to share otherwise.

If however you're writing a novel or short story, its direction is outward, for eventual sale and publication. And if this is so, then you must gather the impetus to write for that goal, and therefore shed the reluctance you seem to have about sharing your writing with the general public.

If you're reluctant to share -- via sale of the story to a publisher, for example -- due to not feeling that the story is that well written, that it's sub-standard? Then what you must do is keep working hard to develop your talent and hone your writing skills so that your output is "publishable" and is good enough in quality of writing to share with the public. There's simply no other alternative. So don't keep your light under a bushel, as the bible says. Learn your craft, gain more skill in your writing, and keep trying.

If alternately your writing is meant for personal consumption, as in a diary, then you don't need to feel fearful. Just don't let anyone else read it. But if you're writing, for example, a short story, then it's meant to be published, and you'll need to keep working at your writing and submitting it for sale until that lucky day that you receive an "acceptance" email. Good luck!

Let me also add this: how do you KNOW that people won't like what you write if you don't let others read it? Are you fearful of what might occur? Then consider that if all writers thought this way, nobody would have ever written a novel or story, ever. There would be no literature at all. ALL writers are "fearful" but they don't let that stop them. They keep trying and submitting and then it "clicks" and they're published! I can only advise you to work hard at improving your skill set and keep submitting your writing. There's no other way. Nobody is a mind reader and is going to say, "Oh, kit, we think that if you wrote a story we'd publish it" -- you've just got to write it first and send it in.
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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 22 Jul 2015, 17:02

I always use the figure-skating analogy. (I love figure skating!) If you train hard and you go out there and skate your best, then that's great. But you can't control how well the other skaters will do. Thus, you really can't control whether or not you win, although your prior effort (training and practicing) can be controlled a great deal.

Likewise, if you write a brilliant book (or whatever), you can't control the reader's mind, the reader's hidden biases, etc. Theoretically, if your book is absolutely wonderful, there will still be people who don't care for it. Some best-selling books, such as Gone Girl, have plenty of haters. (I haven't read it.)

Golly geez, I kept diaries as a kid, and everyone in the whole freakin' household kept reading them!! :o

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Post by Oodler_of_Doodles » 23 Jul 2015, 16:46

My greatest fear is the editing of my work.

I did Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) last year and succeeded in completing a book (wahoo!) but I now know it needs to be gone through and cleaned up. It's not so much editing the content. I can fix punctuation and spelling errors. It's the editing the story to make it better and the fear that the story will always need editing and never be "done" or that I'll change a plot point in the story and won't get all the scenes that hinge on that point fixed. As a result, my story has been put on the back burner because editing seems like such a scary and hard thing to do.

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Post by rssllue » 23 Jul 2015, 16:51

Failing to deliver a great, satisfying ending is my biggest concern. I have been disappointed by so many bad endings in my life in books, that I definitely do not want to do the same with my stories. There are few things worse in writing for me than petering out at the ending leaving the story to end with a thud or a dull whimper. :doh:
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Post by moderntimes » 23 Jul 2015, 17:36

Well, both rss and oodler, the thing is this: If you don't write the book, you've got zero worries! There are many people out there who've never even thought about writing a book, so they're also safe from worries.

My point being, if you worry constantly, you'll never get anything done. You might worry about falling down so you stay in bed, you worry about food poisoning so you don't eat, and pretty soon, worrying about your writing won't be a problem. ha ha

Go forward and work hard at your goals. Keep working and perfecting your craft. If you fear a bad ending, then work hard to tweak that bad ending until it's better. I did the same thing as I fussed over my 3rd novel, and finally, after a couple of months of fiddling, I got the ending right! And apparently so, because I just sold my novel last week!

And Oodler, the same... you need to work on making that book better, and revise the story and work at adjusting it until it makes sense and seems good.

ALL writers experience the same frustration at times. But they skip over the worries and plow through the frustrations and keep forging ahead and eventually make the book better. It's a natural process, but if all writers just stopped working on their book if they feared they'd be unable to improve their book, they'd never get it done and we'd never have ANY books.

My recommendation is to get hold of your energies and apply them toward the project. It's exactly the same as painting the wall or doing the dishes or washing clothes or anything else. It takes hard work and determination to make things work. Engage yourself and keep trying!
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Post by rssllue » 23 Jul 2015, 17:39

moderntimes wrote:Well, both rss and oodler, the thing is this: If you don't write the book, you've got zero worries! There are many people out there who've never even thought about writing a book, so they're also safe from worries.

My point being, if you worry constantly, you'll never get anything done. You might worry about falling down so you stay in bed, you worry about food poisoning so you don't eat, and pretty soon, worrying about your writing won't be a problem. ha ha

Go forward and work hard at your goals. Keep working and perfecting your craft. If you fear a bad ending, then work hard to tweak that bad ending until it's better. I did the same thing as I fussed over my 3rd novel, and finally, after a couple of months of fiddling, I got the ending right! And apparently so, because I just sold my novel last week!

And Oodler, the same... you need to work on making that book better, and revise the story and work at adjusting it until it makes sense and seems good.

ALL writers experience the same frustration at times. But they skip over the worries and plow through the frustrations and keep forging ahead and eventually make the book better. It's a natural process, but if all writers just stopped working on their book if they feared they'd be unable to improve their book, they'd never get it done and we'd never have ANY books.

My recommendation is to get hold of your energies and apply them toward the project. It's exactly the same as painting the wall or doing the dishes or washing clothes or anything else. It takes hard work and determination to make things work. Engage yourself and keep trying!
Congratulations on your sale! Very cool! 8)
And thank you much for the advice and encouragement. It is greatly appreciated! :D
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Post by moderntimes » 23 Jul 2015, 18:31

Hey, I seem to be keeping on with a constant meme here: Don't get discouraged and if you do, push through it and keep on!

Look, gang - several years ago I was in exactly the same spot many here who've posted their writing fears are now. I'd say that the majority of worries are about not finishing the story, not having it accepted, not finding the right audience, feeling that the audience may reject it, and so on.

I was in the same spot. I just kept working and perfecting that novel, and eventually I sold it to a small publisher a couple years back. It seemed that almost immediately, the publisher got acquired by a larger house and they turned into a semi-vanity house, where they asked authors to pay for advertising on the website and so on, become "partners" and I of course didn't do that and they dumped all of us "uncooperative" writers. But thing is, the copyright of course reverted to me, and just last week, I not only sold my new 3rd novel in the series but the new publisher also contracted to re-publish and advertise the first 2 novels in the series.

It seemed to take AGES to make my new 3rd novel good enough so that I felt it ready. I got a very good feedback from a fine critic and she told me that my book had way too much backstory and that the story line ground to a halt because of it. So I read and realized she was correct, and so for maybe 2 months I totally revised my book and afterward, I could easily see that it was greatly improved. And this is the book that I queried endless agencies and publishers about, starting I think in March, and only just now has my perseverance proved worth it. You can read about this via my new thread about having sold my novel to a conventional publisher in this Writer's section.

What I'm trying to do is impart some push and energy to others here who are hesitant. Gang, you gotta try! Get out there and keep on writing and keep on pushing yourself. Yes it's hard but hey, those little shoemaker elves have gone on strike! You can't wake up and find that they finished or revised your novel for you. It falls to you and you alone.

But the rewards? Imagine seeing your own book for sale on the shelves of your local bookstore. Imagine having your own book signing. I tell you, you'll be sooooo happy and you'll feel so very grateful to those folks who've bought your book, the sensation for a writer is incomparable. I've been there and I can attest to this.

I'm just saying that if a grumpy old 73 year old semi-retired engineering consultant can write 3 good action-filled private detective novels, and also sell them to a conventional non-subsidy publisher, then you can write that mystery, romance, fantasy, or mainstream novel too, and find a market for it as well. Get to work! ha ha
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Post by Wanton_Wordsmith » 23 Jul 2015, 19:28

I tried to write 1000 words a day, but most of it was just me writing in my journal. My journal was mostly complaining about how the day when, who pissed me off, whatever. My greatest writing fear is that I will never have a truly original idea to write about. I fear that I will get that "great idea" and then not have the guts and the discipline to finish that darn story!

-- 23 Jul 2015, 19:30 --

I also fear that I will always write cheesy revenge stories, minded from my bottomless wells of resentments. I'm in rut.

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