Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Scares You?



Happy Halloween, everyone! We just got our power back as a Halloween treat after Hurricane Sandy blew through earlier this week (she came as a wicked witch). So, in keeping with the spookiness of All Hallows Eve, I thought I’d toss out a question for you to chew on instead of those candy bars or caramel apples begging for your attention.


Pumpkins by markmiller at Morguefile.com

What frightens you most about starting a new writing project?

Does coming up with an idea feel a bit too much like putting together a Frankenstein monster (from scratch)?

Or, do you worry about surviving that unholy bog that is the middle of a novel or writing project? Working through that can be more challenging than pulling through a sour swamp blanketed in a slimy fog—at night, with no moon.

Or, does an unknown ending hover over your shoulders, baring threatening fangs?

Scaryface by wallyir at Morguefile.com
Perhaps you worry that your characters won’t develop any more charisma than hollow-eyed zombies?

Maybe the voice, or the lack of one, haunts you?

For me, the thought of writing the first draft of a new novel brings on chills and sleepless nights. I’ve been known to wake up screaming at the mere thought of sitting down to write a first draft. Terrifying.

Whatever part of writing frightens you most, be brave and face it with your favorite trick or treat in hand. I recommend chocolate or caramels, but a good book on writing technique, a workshop, or guidance from others in the know can also be helpful. Just remember that writers are courageous and can (usually) conquer the scariest of hurdles. It’s a big part of what we do.

Happy writing and trick-or-treating!
And wishing those coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy warmth and a speedy recovery.


45 comments:

  1. Cynthia - I'm glad to hear you weathered the superstorm okay! What frightens me the most with a new project is the enormity of it. When I first began seriously writing I was oblivious to the number of drafts, revisions, edits, and possible rewrites involved in writing a manuscript. Ignorance was bliss - not anymore. Happy Halloween!

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    1. I understand, Victoria. Ignorance really is bliss. ; )

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  2. Wonderful post, Cynthia! I agree that writers are courageous. We're the bravest of the brave to put our words on paper and ask others to read them!

    Glad you're doing well.

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  3. I so happy to learn that Sandy didn't cause more damage where you are and that power came back on in a timely manner.

    For me, the scariest part of every writing project is the revision. LOTS of chocolate.

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    1. That's interesting, Bish. I love the revision stage. To each her own, right?

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  4. Hope Sandy didn't beat you up too much. She was fine up by me, but put a big hurt on a lot of people. I think what scares me is the fear that I'm going to pour 3 or four months (or more) into something and find that it's just not good enough (and I mean, so bad that not even 2 or three drafts will save it). Even though I know that any writing is good from the standpoint of learning and growth, that's a big investment to make.

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    1. Losing months on a project is a frightening thought.

      I'm glad Sandy didn't beat you up too much. We did better than many, too, but my heart breaks for all those struggling.

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  5. Glad to hear you're alright after Hurricane Sandy. We didn't lose power at all, but a ton of other people did, I hear. Lovely post, by the way. :) I know that middle part of a novel scares me, trying to keep all the threads of the story from unraveling in the most important part. Luckily, I have chocolate and Doctor Who. :) Have a blessed day!

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    1. Ah, Doctor Who can fix almost anything! And I'm glad you didn't lose power. Lucky you!

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  6. Eek, I wasn't scared until I read this post.

    Usually I'm scared I'll take a wrong turn somewhere and everything gets screwed up because of it. Only I don't realize it's screwed up until it's too late. :P

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    1. Oh, yes, I've done this! It is horrific and makes such a mess of things. Great comment.

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  7. Hi Cynthia!! Glad you are safe and well from Sandy!!! Oh dear!!

    Oh for me there is nothing like the terror of the Blank Page!! But it must be faced and conquered! Yay! take care
    x

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    1. I love the way you put that, Kitty: "...it must be faced and conquered!" Absolutely!

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  8. I LOVE first draft writing - it's my favourite part of the whole process. I do get kinda scared of that saggy middle though! :)

    Hope you are doing well!

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    1. Oh, I envy your love of the first draft, Jemi! : )

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  9. I am so glad you made it through Sandy okay. What an ordeal!

    What scares me is my kids in trouble and me not being there. This terrifies me.

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    1. Thanks, Angela!
      Oh yes, I agree--just the thought of kids or other loved ones in trouble is terrifying!

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  10. I think what scares me about a new project is that I will get half way through and go blank.

    It hasn't happened...just a silly fear.

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    1. You bring up a good point, Loree: Most fears have some elements of irrationality or silliness, right?

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  11. Glad you are safe after that storm. Such devastation.

    I think the time that each project takes scares me. Those that are not writers are unaware of the vast amount of time between first drafts, revisions, etc that a manuscript requires.

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    1. Oh, that's so true, Kelly. It's amazing (and yes, scary) how much time a project can take until it's done (if it ever really is).

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  12. I'm so glad you didn't encounter major problems from the storm. The thing that frightens me the most about a new project is the opening sentence. Followed by the first paragraph, first page, and first chapter.

    Next time, I will try chocolate :)

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    1. What a great comment, Carol. I have to agree, although I didn't consider this when posting my blog entry, that the first sentence, etc, can be daunting. I probably spend the most time revising the first sentences and chapters.

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  13. Now that I've been at this for a while, I think that I'm more frightened by what comes after the book is published than anything. It's such a tense time: Will people like what I've written? Will people want to buy what I've written? Will I be able to hold up under all the promotion I have to do? What will I write next? That last one is a huge fright!

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    1. Ah yes, the post publishing stuff can be even more terrifying. Maybe because we have so much less control over what happens? That is, until we dive into the next project. ; )

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  14. novel endings are my biggest fear, lol. Middles are nothing compared to endings ;)

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    1. I think I avoid this by making sure I know (or think I know) the ending before I start writing. I guess this proves that I'm frightened of endings, too! : )

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  15. Glad you have your power back, Cynthia.

    I was reading your examples thinking, "When is she going to mention that the scariest part is the whole first draft?" Well, you did. LOL.

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    1. Well, I'm sort of relieved to read that I'm not the only one who shudders and quakes over writing the first draft. Thanks, Marcia.

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  16. I worry that a story I can so clearly see the beginning and end of will lose steam in the middle and sag. Revision liposuction will be called for.

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    1. "Revision liposuction" deserves a round of applause, Leslie! Perfect! LOL!

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  17. I'm not good with beginnings and ends and have to think them over or rewrite them, but with the rest of the draft I tend to have good momentum.

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    1. Interesting, Medeia. Isn't it fascinating how each of us is different in where we get hung up and where we glide?

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  18. Glad you were able to get your power back before too long! Hope everything is okay after Sandy.

    As for what scares me most, it's looking ahead and seeing how much work there is to do, and thinking it might all be in vain. I try not to think about it, try to focus on the next steps, but sometimes it's hard.

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    1. I get that. Looking at the whole novel can be very intimidating. Thanks, Caryn!

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  19. I don't like being scared! Earthquakes, tornadoes, and cyclones/hurricanes scare me... Thankful we don't get them where I live.

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  20. I am with you, Michelle. I'm happy that we don't get many earthquakes or tornadoes.

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  21. I'm glad that the devastation of the storm was not too bad around where you were.

    All the best!

    Nas

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  22. so glad you got your power back and that you're okay! I heard about another coming storm. I hope this one isn't as bad!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Yes, that other storm came and went. It was a non-event for us, but did make things more tough for those already struggling. Mother Nature must be in a bad mood.

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  23. That's great you have your power back on! :) Glad to hear it, and that you're doing all right.

    The most fearful thing to me about starting a new project? I really have to concentrate on just having fun and exploring for a while, instead of thinking of how important that first chapter is, and how the plot SHOULD go, etc. I can easily get bogged down and start thinking of Rules too soon.

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    1. Great point, Carol. It's important to keep the fun in the project and to love what we are doing, otherwise the energy and passion isn't likely to bleed into the story, right?

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  24. I'm glad you got your power back! I think the thing that scares me the most is knowing how many revisions it's going to take. I love revising, but sometimes it seems like a never-ending process.

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  25. So true, Susan. I love revising, too, but it can be daunting.

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