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.
THIS IS PORN! SEND IT TO PENTHOUSE!
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. http://samhainpublishing.com/blog/2008/05/03/fear
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.
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.