Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Demons of Self-Doubt

The demons of self-doubt are perched on my shoulder.  Just when you’ve conquered one set of demons, another takes its place.  Is it human nature to question our own abilities and worth?

I’m a good writer; I’ve conquered the self-doubt in that direction.  While I haven’t landed an agent, I’ve had plenty request a full and tell me in their rejections that they thought the writing was good but that the story wasn’t for them or that there were things they didn’t care for.  Such is the nature of the biz.  But I know my writing is appealing and I’ve got a distinct voice.  So I should be pretty confident, right?

Right now I’m working on a historical.  It is written in a time period which is particularly popular, there are no supernatural beings or evil-doers in the traditional sense.  The hero and heroine aren’t rich and they won’t be at the end of the book.  It is more of a soap opera story with a murder.  I like it, like the characters and I think the writing is great, however the demon “High Concept” and his buddy “Marketability” whisper in my ear.  “No one is going to give this a second look.”
“Where’s the hook?”
“This story is boring, you need to add the 18th century equivalent of Delta Force to come in and kick some butt.”

I HATE that.  I’m sure I’m not the only writer who suffers this kind of doubt. I think for historical writers this is doubly true.  To stay true to your historical period and the authenticity of the era, you need to focus on the details, to transport your reader to that period.  No, I’m not giving up on my story and I’m not bringing in Delta Force or even SEAL’s.  I’m sure even the published feel these demons hovering.  So what do you do to brush them off?