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Boo Hoo!

It’s prize week on the blog! Leave a comment all week to be entered to win our super Halloween prize! hint…hint…look for candy! It’s is trick-o-treating season after all!

I know…we are supposed to be talking about Halloween. But I’m not because I don’t have any good Halloween stories. Nothing. But I do have a tale to tell.

And it’s something scarier than witches and goblins. Yep. Way scarier. What could be possibly more horrific than a flaming bag of dog poo on you porch? (Darn those Halloween pranksters!) Or those grim reaper guys chasing you with chain saws out the back of one of those horrid haunted houses?

It’s not a rejection.

It’s not an unsympathic critique partner

Or a muse playing hide-and-seek with you on the last chapter.

Nope. It’s doubt. D-O-U-B-T. Horrible, horrible thing. It worms its way into your mind and it refuses to budge. And it happens to all of us. Every one of us. No one is spared. And today it happened to me.

First, may I say, that this year has been incredible for me. I cannot complain. And won’t. My dreams are coming to fruition. Not total fruition, but I’m making progress. I should be happy, right? I am for the most part. BUT, yesterday I got my scoresheets back from a contest I finaled in. Didn’t win. And I found out why.

Because they hated it. I mean the editor flat out gave it the lowest scores imaginable. Really low. And then she went on to tell me there was no depth. The story wasn’t compelling. The tension was uneven. My lowest scores were on the plotline. Was it interesting? No. Was it skillfully developed? No. Was it plausible? No. She even said my pacing was terrible. AAAAGGGHHHH!

Scary? Oh, hell yeah. I couldn’t beleive it. I double checked to make sure it was my entry and scoresheet….it was. Ironically, the agent that judged it gave it the highest scores. She liked it. The pubbed author was in the middle on most of it. But she said something I found the most ironic. Her last comment was “BTW, this would never fly as a Superromance…keep that in mind when submitting!”

And who did I sell this book to? Hmmm…..Superromance.

Should have laughed, right? But I didn’t. Because that worm started wriggling around. Was it all a fluke? Was the story I loved just not good? Maybe I’m not ready for all this? Maybe I should have taken more courses, read more craft books? The doubt just ate away. I yelled at my kids, yelled at my dog, would have yelled at my husband but he wasn’t home yet. I kind of lost it.

My book was going to bomb. Tank. My editor will shake her head and look for someone else to write beautiful, warm, sexy stories for Superromance.  And I will be left looking at dreams gone up in flames. With dog poo on the bottom of my shoe. I would suck. Royally suck.

But then I thought about it. Thought about all those authors who went on to become big-selling, award-winning authors. Those authors who received the same sort of feedback on their bestsellers when they first submitted them, and I realized that I am not alone.  Not everyone will like my book. They just won’t. There will be readers that throw it down and say, “That was horrible!” I don’t want them to, but they will. And just because one editor at the publisher I sold to doesn’t like my book (or the beginning of it) doesn’t mean there isn’t one who does.

And there is one that does. (Thank Lord, or I’d likely be licking my wounds beneath my computer desk as you read this)

So here’s a treat for you: someone will like your story. Someone will think your plot is brilliant, your characters leap off the page and your internal and external conflict so good it brings tears to the eyes. And if you’re lucky, that person will turn out to be the right person.

So as we discuss costumes and fright nights, tell me: What scares you the most about your writing career?

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7 Responses

  1. I’ve been thinking over this question, trying to find an answer other than the obvious one, but that’s the only one I got.

    Biggest fear in writing career, that I won’t HAVE that writing career. Crushing hard reviews don’t scare me. That’s part of the business. And I’ve lately seen a few negative reviews take a positive spin when the author behaved well.

    I supose if I got that career–and I was orphaned. that would suck and is quite scary at how often it happens.

    Um…getting that career, only my numbers aren’t there and I have to abandon a series.

  2. Well, I don’t really have a writing career…yet. But I will be glad when I do! I think what would scare me is if my editor told me my stories weren’t good anymore and they had no use for them. That would scare me. And it is scary knowing that other people are out there, and they will try to steal your story ideas. Those are the two things I am afraid of happening in my career.

  3. With any career there’s a fear of failure and wondering if you made the right choice.

  4. Yeah, being orphaned would suck. Or passed on to another editor that didn’t like you and therefore, didn’t offer much enthusiasm or support.

    Could you imagine me being passed to that editor? Wow.

  5. Jamie – I hadn’t really thought about that. Thanks for adding a new fear 🙂

    I can’t imagine having my career end just as it was beginning. I think that’s what this feedback struck in me – the idea that maybe my whole getting pubbed was just a single stroke of luck.

  6. You are right, Jane. Every new change (especially a job) brings with it a certain amount of doubt. I just got a heaping spoonful!

  7. I have lots of fears about writing. The biggest are the doubts. The wondering if I’m just wasting time following an unattainable dream.

    Thanks for the encouragement!! Your post was awesome!!!

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