Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tweaking Leads to Doubt

Most of the time I am proud of my books. Most of the time I am objective and pleased with what I've created.

I have moments, though, when doubt sets in. Doubt is a very calm word. I can't think of a better one, unless it is fear.

Did I answer all the right questions? What did I miss that someone else will notice? Are the characters consistent in their thoughts and actions?

I feel like I'm standing naked on a podium every time I get an email from a reader. Praise God most emails are positive (and the ones that aren't have been helpful).

Still, I wait for that moment of "I missed what?" that will cause my entire house of cards to fall down and the whole 166,000 word book to become ridiculous in scope. That would be a lot of ridiculous words. A lot of wasted time.

Conceit drives this. The fear that I am not as wonderful a writer as I think I am. The idea that one day I'll be at a book signing, and some young pup dressed as Merritt or Raven will approach with a question about how dryads and naiads can talk to each other. Or something I can't answer.

I suspect every artist feels this way about his creation. We are often our own worst critics, after all.
The fact is my story is made up. I don't have answers for every possible question or concern a reader might have, nor can I. I did the best I could to create a plausible world with plausible people. I hope I succeeded. That's all I can tell myself when the doubt sets in.

But keep the questions coming. Maybe thinking of the answers will inspire another book.

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