Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

No! Don’t Read It! June 17, 2011

Filed under: Writing — katblogger @ 10:20 AM
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Sorry about the unfortunate disruption to my schedule. Now that I’ve scarred my parents, who couldn’t resist, let’s continue.

Today I want to speculate over a very strange phenomena. We write and we write and we write with dreams of publication, but some people – or maybe it’s just me – would be horrified if anyone actually read it. Here are the reasons I can think up. If you have any more, feel free to share.

1. Perfectionism. It can always be better. I won’t let anyone read it until I’ve ironed out every little flaw. The problem with this is: it’ll never be perfect. I have to get over that. Going through the IB was immensely helpful on that front – it beat the perfectionism out of me through homework overload and encroaching deadlines.

2. Genre Transplant. Maybe my parents want to read it. But what if my parents are enthusiastic readers of historical fiction, and I’ve written a book about dragons and wizards? I might be terrified that they’ll hate the genre and hate the story. (Note – until you hit a certain age, your parents are pretty much honor bound to love whatever you do. Make use of this for your self-esteem!)

3. Insecurity. Maybe I really don’t think the story is good enough. Every project goes through the phase where you start comparing. The dialogue is bad, characters flat, setting uninspired –  I want to print the manuscript off and set it on fire. Everyone reading it would just laugh. There’s no quick fix on this one. I just have to convince myself that I didn’t write the worst piece of literature since Breaking Dawn.

Got any other reasons to hide? Have any horror/success stories of when you actually let someone read something? Share them here.

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6 Responses to “No! Don’t Read It!”

  1. I self-published my book, The Monster’s Daughter, which I actually did because of my mom. I went through lots of rounds of revision, beta reading and editing, so that it was finally time to let it go–even knowing that it could still be better. The problem with always striving to make one thing better is that you miss out on all the other stories you could learn with all the time you spend tweaking and tinkering.

    I was careful to tell my friends that, though I’d welcome them buying the book to support me, I didn’t think for a second they’d all love it. There’s a lot of humor, but its subject matter and setting are dark. It’s allegory to me about abusive relationships, and it’s inescapable that no kind of ending will make that palatable to everyone.

    I’m glad I released it. I see ways it could have been better, but mostly I feel really glad that I let it go, so I can take what I learned by doing so and apply those lessons to new works . . . or, y’know, eventually revising the other two books in the trilogy!

  2. katblogger Says:

    Self-publishing, hm? I’ve heard that’s a risky business – you can sell a lot, or be completely unnoticed. How has it been going for you? I see that it has vampires in it – a sure sell. 😉 But, contrary to popular belief, there are SOME good books that happen to have vampires in them.

    • I suppose it could be risky if one’s end objective were lots of sales, but I had different objectives. 🙂

      When I wrote the books in 2004, I was glad I’d done so but asked myself, “Who reads vampire books?!” Oh, silly Deb! I should have looked to myself and my younger sister as kids to know we were not alone in absorbing all the supernatural books we could. Indeed, The Silver Kiss is one of only 3-4 books that’s traveled with me across the ocean and back. Twice.

      I don’t like vampires now more than I like any other monster. I was reluctant to tag TMD with “vampire” actually, but did include it at my BIL’s urging. Probably a good call! But I daresay it’ll be more of a fit for folks looking for YA fiction on coming of age or escaping abuse!

      I used to be terrified by the thought of a negative review. Now I have to say . . . I don’t care. I don’t think about reviews too much, apart from some exultation over awesome reviews. 🙂

  3. edwincov Says:

    Very true. I enjoy writing about just about anything that pops into my mind, and sometimes I think that it will make no sense to anybody else but me –then I realized that the internet is a pretty big place, someone out there is bound to like the same things as me, right? Haha.

    There is one thing that I try to stay away from, and even though there is nothing wrong with it, I wouldn’t want to start a controversy. I know that good things can come from debates, but . . no. I just want to stay away from conflict, I guess 🙂

    Edwin
    http://awkwardlist.com

  4. Kristin Says:

    Correction…parents love what you create…we do NOT love everything you DO.


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