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So, About That Story....

The one that I finished several days back and put away, and referred to in my post last week.  I've read it through, and I made a few changes.  Overall, though, I liked it.  I think.  At least I didn't hate it.  Now I'm thinking it's time to send it out.  

This is the part that always trips me up.  Having people read my novels?  No problem.  I have all the confidence in the world in my longer work.  But this is a different form, a different kind of story.  It's not epic fantasy; there's no political intrigue; there are no mages, or swords, or castles.  It's . . . different.  And I find myself in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable position of being reluctant to let anyone see it.  This, of course, makes it difficult to sell the thing....

Different is good (he tells himself).  This story was fun to write precisely because it was different.  It forced me to stretch, to take chances, to go against those instincts that steer me onto familiar ground.  That's all great, until it comes time to let someone else read it.  I stretch before I work out, too, but I'm not sure I'd want anyone to watch, and, more to the point, I'm not sure anyone really wants to see that.

A few weeks ago, when I taught at the South Carolina Writer's Workshop conference, I was very brave on my students' behalf.  "Polish it up," I told one, who had written a truly excellent beginning to what I'm certain is a terrific novel.  "And then send it out!  It can't get published if you don't send it out."  Such surety!  Such glib confidence!  Where is that self-assurance now that it's my work sitting on the desk, printed and ready to go?

Established writers out there:  Am I the only one who does this?  Shouldn't I be past this by now?  Do any of the rest of you have trouble stepping out of your comfort zone?

Today's music:  Steps (Smokin' in the Pit)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Nov. 24th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
I don't worry about comfort zone any more--I've written about everything though many of them still sit on the hard drive. my issues are different: I'm a visual writer, and it takes me a very long time to beat back the images and see the crappy prose. That process takes a long time.
davidbcoe
Nov. 24th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment, Sherwood, though, as someone who has read your work, I don't understand the "crappy prose" reference at all. I guess the point is, though, that all of us have issues that we have to overcome when presenting our work to the world.

Hope you had a nice holiday.
sleigh
Nov. 24th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
I don't know that I deliberately write out of my 'comfort zone,' but I'm willing to try writing any story that nags at me strongly enough. When I get the occasional anthology invite, I like to push the envelope of the theme (it seems most anthologies nowadays are 'themed') as far as I can. Usually I'm relatively pleased with those efforts (though there was one anthology where I pushed too far and ended up with a failed story that I couldn't bring myself to send to the editor, and no time to write a new one...).

The nice thing about short stories is that the form allows a writer to experiment (and either fail or succeed) without having 'wasted' a year or more if the experiment just doesn't work. And if it does work, well, then you have a new skill to exercise in the novels.

davidbcoe
Nov. 24th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
"The nice thing about short stories is that the form allows a writer to experiment (and either fail or succeed) without having 'wasted' a year or more if the experiment just doesn't work. And if it does work, well, then you have a new skill to exercise in the novels."

Well put, as always. I've never written for a themed anthology before, though it's something I'd like to try. I would imagine that it would be a great opportunity to force myself to stretch and try something new. One day, perhaps.

Thanks for the comment, my friend.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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