Friday, December 23, 2011

The Significance of Being Determined

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere creations are the stuff of
nightmares,  personifications of fox and wolf.
I've mentioned fear here recently and editing. They make strange bedfellows and can paralyze one when combined. They are the Croup and Vandemaar in a writer's head. The worst kind of nightmare because they're in the room with you when you wake.

Look, everyone is insecure. We all have things we're scared others will find out about us. And once those things are revealed, we fear being ridiculed or disrespected or disregarded. No one wants to be the victim of any of those things.

The thing is, all we have to do to avoid these conditions to work.

As I'm getting notes back on my NaNoWriMo novel from this year, I'm also thinking about the things I already knew I would need to do to make the book better, maybe even saleable. I want to do some simple things, create some new ideas that can capture a reader's imagination, tell a human story in a setting that illuminates a common condition pervasive throughout the world today and that's harder than it sounds. A lot harder.

I can hear Mr. Croup saying, "What a brain, Mr Vandemaar! Quick and incisive! Some of us are so sharp we could cut ourselves!"

What am I afraid of? All I have to do is research, that's not so bad. It's just work. Where the fear really comes in is when I wonder if it will be worth it? What will I learn from the experience? Will other people dig it or am I just doing this to satisfy myself? What do I have to say to the world that someone else hasn't said better or far more eloquently than I have? Why is this important to me?

And there you have it. I know that it will be worth it to go in and make this book as good as I possibly can. I'll learn how to write THIS novel in the way that the story demands. I already know that other people will like what I'm doing on some level so while I'm working to satisfy myself first I know there's an audience out there for it. Can't think about what other writers do. I know they're out there, some of my favorites have tackled the same themes and topics I have but maybe not quite in this way. 

So why is it important that I do this, see it all the way to a logical end? 

Mr. Vandemaar: "I'm not squeamish, Mr. Croup. I like it when the eyeballs fall out."

I have to see it through. I've started something that's captured my imagination and the fact that there's Fear over there in the corner means that it has to be done. Croup and Vandemaar don't do meaningless work for no pay.  

Of course all this is invention. A kind of lie. A fiction. Fearing the finish is normal, I suppose, and the appearance of the Old Firm in my head really only spurs me to keep pushing on. My book won't find a larger audience if I don't do this. 

I owe it to the work to get it done. 

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