Sunday, May 4, 2008

Not so scary.

The first time I sent any of my work out into the world was for a competition, it was a few years ago now, but I remember that experience well. I also remember how it made me feel and what it did for my writing. I got the results and looking at the score sheet I appeared to have done okay, first time out there and I was in the middle of all the entries. Some judges wrote comments and others didn't. One was brilliant and I ended up working with her quite a few years later, but the other one is the one that got me. Oh, she/he was a great judge. With red pen in hand the judge took to my ms with enthusiasm. Obviously on a roll or getting carried away (who knows), not one page was left unmarked. But it was the final comment, in red pen, big capital letters.
Well. What can I say? To say it stopped the writing cold is an understatement. It blew the whole idea up! It took me months, yes months, to even look at anything again. Never mind actually write anything. I finally got up the nerve to look at this particular entry and ALL the judges comments, and do you know what I found? It was ONE opinion. The other judges didn't feel the same way about the piece, so I really took a look at the red pen comments. Now I'm not sure, but it's quite possible that said judge was having a bad day, or was even a NUN. One of the complaints was that I'd described, in great detail, the feel of the hero's tongue as it dueled with the heroine's. Now forgive me if I've got this wrong, and Hubby I do apologise for our 20 years together if I'm am, but isn't that a kiss? I was sure it was a kiss when I wrote it.
My point to this post is that even though I know I don't write 'porn', what I write is erotic and some people may view it that way. I'll also say that I don't just write 'erotic', although a lot of what I write would fall into the hotter side of romance. The bad thing is, that even though I know there are people that like the genre I write in, I still have this big horrible spectre living in my head that screams every time I send something to my CP. And when I'm doing edit/polish of a wip I always try to tone down the sex scenes. (I know, someone should slap me upside the head.) When a scene flows for me it goes quicker than I can type or write long hand, (which explains the funny little language I have in all my long hand work), and I'm in the moment, I don't worry about toning it down.
Yesterday at 2am, at least I think it was yesterday, maybe it was Friday? Can't remember, direct result of little to no sleep, thank you Hubby. Anyway, the second draft of On A Wing And A Prayer took to it's wings and flew off to visit with Devon and Mari. Devon has had the privilege of reading some of this already. Chapters 1-4 I think, but now she has the whole thing. It's the first baby to go out whole. And there's that little voice screaming in the back of my head. Sigh!
I'm told by some great writing friends (yes they're published) that it doesn't change. With every wip the same fears grab hold and squeeze you tight. Well, I'm feeling a little chocked and would really like a little breathing room, just a smidge. It's not helping with the sleep deprivation. I'm thinking that writing the book is the easy bit. It's the edit/polish, sending it to CP, edit/polish again, and then submitting it that's hard. Really hard! But I can't not write so I guess I have to face the fear and move on. Or as the kids would say, build a bridge and get over it! (aren't they brilliant?)
So I built the bridge and I'm over it but I can't help but look back. It's the fear, I might have left it behind but it's still there, just over my shoulder, waiting for my steps to falter so it can catch up again.

No snappy little saying today, instead I'm going to give you the link to the blog post that inspired the sharing of my fears. NJ Walters blogged at the Samhain blog today about fear and how it drives us.
Go over and check out her brilliant thoughts. The woman is a great writer and I'm privileged to be able to spend some time with her online in one of my egroups. The link to her website is in the sidebar so after you've been and read her post go check her and her books out. I dare you to come away without buying one.

Rachel C

P.S. Aforementioned ms is Dark Heat. Which is getting the edit/polish treatment soon. I'm determined to get it published just so I can blow a raspberry at aforementioned judge.


  1. As Jenny Crusie would say, that woman was 'not YOUR reader'. Don't worry about it - the woman obviously has hangups about sex. If you enjoy writing it, and other people like reading it, that's all that counts. And there is a huge difference between erotica and porn.

    And good on you for being brave and sending some more stuff out there. I've just signed on for a cp through RomAus so we'll see how that goes!

  2. Hey, Rachel. Thank you so much for all the kinds things you said about my writing.

    I love what your kids say about fear, "Build a bridge and get over it." Words to live by.

    It's always hard to send your book out into the world. You work so hard on something and put everything of yourself into it. But the thing I love about sending it to a CP or an editor you can trust is that you know everything they say is designed to make the work better.

    That's why I love the editing process. Yes, sometimes I want to beat my head against the wall, but I always look a the comments and forge ahead. I want the book to be the best it can be. That's the goal.

    As for bad comments or critiques, they happen to all authors, even the most famous. Maybe especially the most famous. LOL

    Im anything but famous, but I've had my share and they hurt. But, they are just one person's opinion. I always try and be objective, to see if there is something I can learn to help make the next book better.

    Rejection is part of this business. It hurts, but there is no way to avoid it. That's why I start a new project as soon as I send out my latest work. That way, if a rejection does come back, I'm not as attached to that book because I already have a new project I'm working on. It helps.

    Good luck with this book and all your books! You're sending your work out there and that means you're trying to accomplish your dreams.