Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fear of Revision

Sometimes the mind plays tricks on us. Sometimes it deceives. And then there are the times when it paralyzes.
I love writing. I love how it blends logic and emotion into the vessels of character, plot, and setting. I love the artful simplicity of it, and the infinite complexity. But after the first draft is done and I’m looking at the beautiful disaster on the computer screen in front of me, the fear sets in. I’m going to have to fix this.

Oh, how many times have I wished for a revision fairy to wave her tiny wand and instantly transform my manuscript into a completed product? Too many to count.

It’s not (only) that I’m lazy. The first draft is easy. You just type down everything that pops into your head, like throwing bushels of cooked spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Revising is the voice in the back of your head that keeps you up at night, whispering how the third act is still too weak to support the story and your main character’s eyes should be green instead of brown. And then when you sit down to start the task of bringing order to this chaotic manuscript, the first sensation is . . . paralysis.

It’s just too much. It’s too hard. The competition on the bookstore shelves is too good, and this little manuscript isn’t Big Enough or Smart Enough to get noticed. These fears are compounded by the other Voice in your head which convinces you that THIS is the book which will reveal to everyone that you’re a fraud, a hack, a joke pretending to be a writer.

Yet, I bring some good news, too. The fear is temporary. Once I place my fingers on the keyboard and get started, the tension eases. Oh, it’s not always a pretty sight. Some evenings I spend hours just banging away at nothing, barely treading water, and the fear slinks back into my brain like the whore of Babylon. But one thing you learn after doing this for a couple decades is that nothing lasts forever. The paralysis will lift as long as you keep pressing forward.

Revision isn’t just necessary for a good book. It’s good for the soul, too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DragonCon 2012

I would usually begin a post about a scifi/fantasy convention with details about the wild parties, the interesting costumes, or the amounts of alcohol imbibed, but this time I want to highlight something more important.


This was my third DragonCon, starting from 2010, and each time I’ve been honored to share the booth and stage with very special people. Over the course of those three years they have gone from associates to friends, and this past weekend I realized something new. They have become part of me.

Typically when authors and publishers get together, they talk about the industry, writing trends, contracts, and that sort of thing. And we did that, too. But each time our crew got together, the discussion turned to our families, our personal lives, and the bonds we’ve made—bonds we cherish beyond a sales ledger or a promotional blurb.

This year I got an added bonus. My wife Jenny was able to attend her first DragonCon. Not only did I get to watch her wonder at all the sights and sounds, and the pride with which she wore her Xena costume (which got a LOT of attention), but I was also able to share with her the camaraderie of my DragonCon family. She took to it, and us, like a fish to water.

So, if you haven’t been to DragonCon, come for the festivities—for the all-night parties and the costumes, for the celebrities and artists—but perhaps you’ll be graced like I have been, with a new family as well.

Special thanks to: Lou, Megan, Lisa, Gabrielle, Eugene, Sam, Susan, Clay, Andrew, Philippa, K.D., Jessie from JABberwocky, David, Cooper, John, and, of course, Jenny.

And thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth to support us.
For some pictures of the con, head over to facebook where I'll be posting them soon.