Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Writing: Fear

Project: the sister story
Status: editing Piper

F is for Fear
Honesty time! I've gotten almost zero editing done this week. I could blame it on LIFE STUFF, and it is true that this week has been a bit exceptionally stressful, but what's really holding me back is the fear of messing up. Of not getting things right. This isn't a first draft or a second draft, but a I-don't-even-know-what-number draft, and I'm incredibly attached to the story as well as the character at the center of it. There are events and moments within Piper's story that I just beyond love, and I'm scared of messing them up. I'm scared of making things worse. And most of all I'm scared that, at the end of all this editing, the book as a whole (not just Piper's half, but the two halves together) won't be as good as I want it to be, or even as good as it was a few drafts ago.

When I did my guest post on Nova Ren Suma's blog, on my (rather, one of my) turning point(s) as a writer, I talked about this novel. It's one that's been loosely in the works since I was fifteen or sixteen years old and I love it so much and I want to get it right and there's this fear that it might not happen.

So I've been putting off diving into the story. Sure, I edited the first two chapters but aside from one short scene, all that meant was changing a couple of character's names. Now I'm at the third chapter and knowing that I have to take a hacksaw to this thing has me stalling. And this is weird because fear is not something I'm used to dealing with where writing is concerned. Blank pages don't scare me. Knowing I have 50k or so ahead of me doesn't freak me out. But having a story I love? One I have to edit and re-edit, one that's good as-is but still needs to be so much better? That gets my attention. And I don't have any brilliant ideas on how to handle that, so I'm asking you -- any tips for dealing with the fear that comes with writing and/or editing?


  1. Oh, gosh, I'm completely the opposite. Right now, I'm basically in a tug-of-war with this first draft. I give it an inch and it just pulls me in a direction I don't want to go, and I completely forget that it's only the first draft and I'm going to have to put the blade to it afterward anyway. To me, editing has always been the fun part.

    Also, thank you so much for inspiring me! I've always kept away from writing talk on my blog because I thought I should only stick to books. You don't happen to already have a critique partner or group, do you? ;)

    1. Aw, thanks!! I've set Mondays aside as a talk-about-writing day on my blog because I wanted to talk about my writing at least some.

      I have a loose set of writing buddies - not exactly a critique group/partner, but just people who write genre(s) I'm interested in (and vice versa) who I can talk writing with and sometimes beta or alpha read for each other. What genre(s) do you write?

    2. A little bit of everything. My current project is historical fantasy, but I also have steampunk, cyberpunk, dystopian and one or two contemporaries lined up as well. How about you? I've noticed that you like to read contemps more than anything else.

    3. I write contemporary YA (though I also have a spy YA in the works and I'm not even sure what genre to call it, really). And yes, I read contemporary more than anything else though I also like sci-fi (including dystopia) and occasionally read other stuff. I don't read fantasy/paranormal. I haven't read much steampunk (any? idk.) though I think I'd like to.