Sometimes my nerves get the best of me. I’ve been doing better lately, fighting through the imposter syndrome and convincing myself there’s some merit to my work, but it comes at the price of almost everything else. I’m working toward a balance, the problem is just that I’m so afraid of my mistakes outshining my good that I’m obsessive (and there are still mistakes which makes me feel like I’m not being obsessive enough). I believe in the saying “don’t let perfection be the enemy of good,” but it’s hard to live sometimes.
I’m also focusing on trilogies instead of stand-alones going forward, and I’m concerned about that. I like a good one off, a beginning, middle, and end that’s all encompassing in 300 or so pages, but I also love an epic story that’s told in half a million words and takes you on a rolling, crazy journey. And I think the money is probably in that journey. That, and I notice people tend to say, “I can’t wait for the next one!” even when they read a stand-alone book, even when the story is neatly tied up, so the expectation is there if the understanding is not.
Series writing is hard though. It’s rewarding, certainly, but juggling your character arcs and plot points is scary and restrictive in a way you wouldn’t expect–if you place the gun in book one, someone better fucking shoot it by book three. It’s also taxing. I keep pretty good notes, but my memory is kinetic–once I write something down, it’s way easier for me to remember, so I of course write loads of notes, but then I end up commiting all of them to memory anyway. So my brain’s like “hey, fuck your social security number, you need to remember Lorelei’s room number!”
None of this is to say I don’t want to write series/trilogies though, because I absolutely do! I’m hardcore into slow-burn, long, developed relationships (romantic or platonic) and easter-egg laying, and that kind of stuff works best over multiple books, it just takes more planning to not feel like scrambling at the end. The Willful Inheritor is in the works, and I’m so excited about what this last Vacancy book is going to be, I’m just scared of failing at it, not making it satisfying, making it too long, leaving somebody out or their story unfinished, all of that, and I don’t want to keep feeling this way every time I get to the end of a series. It might be inevitable, but I’m hoping it’s just something I have to train myself out of.
The covers for Blightwood are already made and paid for which is hella exciting too, but I’m like uh oh, those books aren’t even written yet! And the plot is sooo loose that I’m freaking out a little, but in a way it’s also maybe a good thing because there are no restrictions there yet, and I can totally mold that world into whatever I want at this point. My next goal is to create a really strong story bible for Blightwood, so I’m hunting for good software to do that. Creating a fantasy world that takes itself seriously is daunting!
So that’s where my head is today. Feeling good overall and excited, but apprehensive and nervous going forward. I’m coming up on actually dumping money in advertising too, so that’s just…scary. I don’t know how to get readers without already having readers, ya know? Somebody read and review my books! It’s just six hours of your life and a thoughtful, critical analysis, I’m not asking for that much!!! (Big emphasis on the sarcasm there at the end, Dear Reader, but for real, review, please!)
2 thoughts on “Lofty Goals and Living”
I feel you and can only say hang in there and good luck!
I think you’re absolutely right about trilogies/series being good from a business perspective. It means more returning readers, and discounting the first book seems to be a good marketing strategy.
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Sounds like a lot of interesting stuff is going on . . .
I agree on the need for a strong story bible. I haven’t felt the need for special software; I’m willing to be convinced, but a plain Word file seems to do pretty well — though it has to be well structured and effectively searchable too.
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