Tales of Tadeusz

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tadeusz on Tenterhooks

Yesterday, I struggled with being sick and on edge. I've published my book Death of a Blogger: An Internet Murder Mystery Novel, and now I have to do the promotion thing.

Let me tell a story. Years back, I thought to run a local SF convention, actually originate it. I called my clever concept Centurion Convention because even then I had aspirations of alliteration. Now I had little clue what I was doing, and tended to focus my energy on the wrong things.

I had desires of making a Really Cool Con, and so I decided to offer a chance to people to send me their short stories, and if I liked them, I'd print them in a rather large program book. I thought I would be at least somewhat deluged with stories, but no. Visions of piles of white sheets of typed papers on my desk going taller than me filled my mind. Instead, I had ONE person offer me their story, but with a stipulation. I had to agree to accept it sight unseen.

Now, I was not much of an editor, but even I knew that was a no go.

He was afraid.

Revealing yourself is scary. Worse I think is revealing your work with that dreadful uncertainty about whether it is, ah, y'know, any good at all. Have you left out parts that were necessary? Sure, you've been doing this a long time, but still, you remember reading some of your earlier stuff, and wincing a bit.

Is someone else going to read your work, and not be outraged, but worse, go hunh?

It does help a bit that you recall many terrible novels that were published, and yours is surely better than those.

But I have to try. And that is the difference between me and the dozens of people who talk about being writers. I met a successful author for a group round-robin writing experience. Halfway through it, he gave me a weird look. I like to think it was that he saw the future in me. The determination to actually DO this thing. And it sticks in my memory more and resonates stronger because this man died a few weeks later.

We only have so much time, and I can only try.

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