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Archived Author Help > Ahhhh, Freak Out

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message 1: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) This isn't really so much for author help as it is for author commiseration. The other day I had a not-actually-literally panic attack about the YA fantasy that I'm in the process of editing. I was like, "It's crap! It's completely unrealistic, and nothing like that could ever actually happen. Get rid of all those crazy, fantasy parts and tone it down to reality." The tiny person on my other shoulder was like, "Um, hello? You're writing fantasy." Unfortunately, I find myself listening to the little, red troublemaker.

So, in light of this, I'll take solace in hearing tales of your freak-outs and how you talked yourself off the figurative ledge.


message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Jensen (kdragon) | 468 comments The novel I plan on publishing next I had to force myself to write, and it took me about six drafts to end up liking the thing. There was always something trivial I was doubting.

~ no one's interested in a seventy year old protagonist even if she does age slowly.

~ People are going to think I'm sadistic because I tortured one of my characters yet again.

~ People want Dresden Files type urban fantasy, not wizardly Miss Marple.

~ Are the fantasy elements even necessary (*cough*even though there wouldn't be a plot without those fantasy elements*cough*)

And so on and so forth, with me telling those doubts to shut the crap up each time (especially that last doubt. That one was just ridiculous). I think what helped me push forward against the nay-saying side of my mind is the thought that somewhere out there are people who will read my book and love it, whether it's many people or just a few.


message 3: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
Quoleena wrote: "I'll take solace in hearing tales of your freak-outs..."

Good. I'm glad someone will get some use out of this.

I had a panic attack today. I'm working on a satirical book about monsters taking over Christmas and found that Santa Claus may, in fact, be trademarked and I might, in fact, be in trouble if I try to publish it as is.

Whoops.

But, the attack didn't last long. I have Rudolf and Frosty making cameos in the story, disguised well. I'll figure out how to get around the Santa problem, too.


message 4: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) "I think what helped me push forward against the nay-saying side of my mind is the thought that somewhere out there are people who will read my book and love it, whether it's many people or just a few.

Well stated, Melissa. Indeed!

As for you, Dwayne, now I need to go search for that "What made you giggle today" thread.


message 5: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Jensen (kdragon) | 468 comments Dwayne wrote: "Quoleena wrote: "I'll take solace in hearing tales of your freak-outs..."

Good. I'm glad someone will get some use out of this.

I had a panic attack today. I'm working on a satirical book about m..."


Dang it, copyright laws, this is why we can't have nice things!


message 6: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Dwayne wrote: "I had a panic attack today. I'm working on a satirical book about monsters taking over Christmas and found that Santa Claus may, in fact, be trademarked..."

???

I seriously doubt you'd be in any trouble for using the name. I mean, it's used everywhere by everyone. You'd be more likely to get into trouble if you used a trademarked image.

But you could always plead the parody case. And if I were you, I'd hope to get sued so you could generate massive publicity for your book. Imagine every online magazine in the world running stories about it!


message 7: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments I feel like deleting everything I've ever written at least once a week.


message 8: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments As for the OP ... I'm sitting on a "completed" novel right now. The first rough draft was finished in early 2014. After several edits/re-writes/revisions, I'm still biting my fingernails over whether it's worth publishing (or how exactly to negate my issues with it).

Freaking out is, I think, sometimes good. Often not.


message 9: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Micah wrote: "As for the OP ... I'm sitting on a "completed" novel right now. The first rough draft was finished in early 2014. After several edits/re-writes/revisions, I'm still biting my fingernails over wheth..."

Get good beta readers. They should help you pinpoint the problem, if there is one.


message 10: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
Micah wrote: "I seriously doubt you'd be in any trouble for using the name. I mean, it's used everywhere by everyone. You'd be more likely to get into trouble if you used a trademarked image.

But you could always plead the parody case. And if I were you, I'd hope to get sued so you could generate massive publicity for your book. Imagine every online magazine in the world running stories about it!"


Some good and amusing things to consider here. I already have a little joke early on in which one character worries Tim Burton may sue them for, basically, stealing his idea.

What I'm going with is to have Santa Claus using a different name and remarking he's afraid to keep the name the same for any length of time, due to being afraid of being sued for using his own name.

I probably don't really have much to worry about. It seems that the only lawsuits have come against companies using the name / image in advertising and not in stories / TV shows / etc.


message 11: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Dwayne wrote: "Micah wrote: "I seriously doubt you'd be in any trouble for using the name. I mean, it's used everywhere by everyone. You'd be more likely to get into trouble if you used a trademarked image.

But ..."


What kind of world do we live in where Santa is protected under copyright laws? He's public domain!


message 12: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments I'm busy with my sequel and about once a week I have a meltdown and decide that I'm giving up writing. This story starts off dark and I torture my MC's. Emotions run high and my characters feel varied levels of guilt, fear, panic and remorse and I'm terrified it comes off as repetitive and the reader will either give up hope or lose interest. Then there's the fact that I think my characters hate me and are refusing to talk to me. Add to the mix the anxiety of having to tie up every lose end and you have the makings for a pretty epic panic attack. Can someone pass the paper bag?


message 13: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
Quoleena wrote: "What kind of world do we live in where Santa is protected under copyright laws? He's public domain!"

I know, right? Especially when the Santa Claus we know today is a conglomeration of so much stuff that cannot be copyrighted or trademarked, from the Norse god Odin to the real man known as St. Nicholas. But, alas, there are trademarks on the character.

http://www.trademarkologist.com/2014/...

http://www.forbes.com/2008/12/10/chri...


message 14: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
S.J. wrote: "I'm busy with my sequel and about once a week I have a meltdown and decide that I'm giving up writing. This story starts off dark and I torture my MC's... Then there's the fact that I think my characters hate me and are refusing to talk to me. "

Torturing the characters is just part of the process. It can get painful for us, the writers, too, but it has to be done to show the world how tough our characters are. But, I'm sure your characters don't hate you. You're telling their story. They should appreciate that.


message 15: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Dwayne wrote: "Quoleena wrote: "What kind of world do we live in where Santa is protected under copyright laws? He's public domain!"

I know, right? Especially when the Santa Claus we know today is a conglomerati..."


To this day it's difficult for me to picture Santa Claus without a small bottle of Coke in his hand.


message 16: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
Ken wrote: "To this day it's difficult for me to picture Santa Claus without a small bottle of Coke in his hand. "

The first time he's mentioned on the novel, Mummy sees him on TV riding an electric razor.


message 17: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 780 comments When ever I panic over something I'm working on and I find it's not going as well as I thought I just try to back away and do something else to calm me down so I'm not in too much of a panic.


message 18: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) I'm glad I posted this. Panic attacks of whatever scale and freaking out in general is normal, as it would seem. Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts. Knowing I'm not the only one is quite motivating to push through and get over it. Perhaps I'll post a reminder next to my keyboard that states, "This too shall pass."

What I'm trying to say is:


(No, the gif makes no contextual sense, but I dig me some Cumberbatch.)


message 19: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Um... I'm no lip reader, but that looks as if he's saying 'Oh f*ck it all.' O_o


message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 262 comments Love this thread! In between novels, I'm working on a short non-fiction book about critiquing. Half-way through drafting I panicked that it all sounded way too dry and "preachy". To lighten things up, I introduced some light-hearted dialogues between author Ernest Hummingbird and his friend and mentor, Sage. Then I panicked that this was silly and nobody would take it seriously. Can't win :)

As G.G. says, get good beta readers. I put the finished draft out for independent critiques and have had overwhelmingly positive responses. Whew!


M. Ray Holloway Jr.   (mrayhollowayjr) | 180 comments There is something that I fret over on a somewhat regular basis. I get ideas for stories and books, and I develop them and write the tale as it comes to me. What troubles me is that so far, I don't have two stories that could honestly be considered to be in the same genre. I have a ghost story, a relationship story, a spiritual story, and a book of poetry. My latest two tales are a novel about time travel, and a children's tale about fairies.

It keeps me up at night thinking that I can't really combine all these short stories into one book because someone who loves ghost stories would probably not care for a spiritual Christian story, and someone who would like fairy tales would likely not care for my short about the relationship of two sisters.

Plus, there is the thought that I may never be able to build an audience because of the differing subject matters. I do have several science fiction stories in my future, because that is really the realm that I want to focus on, but every once in a while, a story just forces itself to the top of my consciousness and refuses to let me alone...


M. Ray Holloway Jr.   (mrayhollowayjr) | 180 comments Mixed feelings here... I didn't mean to put a halt to this topic with my venting. Please feel free to continue. I'll survive.


message 23: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
M. Ray Holloway Jr. wrote: "Mixed feelings here... I didn't mean to put a halt to this topic with my venting. Please feel free to continue. I'll survive."

Oh, wow, Ray. Quite the opposite. I'm glad you posted again and made me come to see the new comment. I meant to respond to your last. I'd even started to write a comment, but got sidetracked and didn't get back to it.

I'm going much the same direction as you in writing. I do horror, humor and general literature. I have a couple of Christian things in the works, but not published, yet. I have ideas for children's books, too.

Writers like us can and do build audiences, but I think it will take a bit longer than it will for someone who writes one genre or two that are fairly closely related. Most of the time I am fine with that. I'm enjoying the ride and am seeing I am building an audience... slowly, very slowly, but it's happening.

It has crossed my mind, though, that maybe I should unpublish some things and focus on one genre. But, I have no idea which. So, I end up staying with being all over the place. I think I'm happier this way so, in the end, this is probably what I will continue to do.


message 24: by Iffix (new)

Iffix Santaph | 324 comments My current freak out is with my fourth novella in the series. I'm told repeatedly that people are interested in a love interest developing between two characters, though I'm writing a sci-fi primarily and a romance somewhere on the back burner.
While I've been developing the story line, one of said characters dies a shock death. (No worries. I've found a way to regenerate him. It's Sci-Fi!) So now I'm struggling to build confidence that this is the right story to tell, since many, many people hate this sort of thing when done poorly, and I have my own convictions about taking character deaths too lightly. There you have it, I'm as big of a mess as the rest of you. :D


message 25: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I'm right there with you, Ray. I haven't strayed outside of the overall sci-fi and fantasy heading, but I've jumped all over the spectrum within and do have plans to branch out. Yes, it absolutely means not building a single fan base, but having more than one fan base isn't such a bad thing. If you want a little more if my take, here's a blog post I wrote two years ago. I can honestly say my views have not really changed at all: http://mcmullenwrites.blogspot.com/20...


message 26: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Holmes | 4 comments Iffix wrote: "My current freak out is with my fourth novella in the series. I'm told repeatedly that people are interested in a love interest developing between two characters, though I'm writing a sci-fi primar..."

If the character dying is the same character who is part of the romance storyline can't you take them to the physical brink, screw as much emotion out of it as possible and then let them live. This will enhance the romance storyline, give your readers a thrilling ride and avoid the sci if trick of nobody is ever actually dead. Possible?


message 27: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
Iffix wrote: "So now I'm struggling to build confidence that this is the right story to tell, since many, many people hate this sort of thing when done poorly..."

This is partly why I love writing humor. You can do pretty much anything and get away with it, as long as it's funny. I'm getting ready to put out a humor / horror (more humor than horror) novel in which xx minor characters will die. But, they will be the stars of the sequel. How? They're going to be so obnoxious in hell that Satan will send them back to earth just to get rid of them.


message 28: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) M. Ray Holloway Jr. wrote: "Mixed feelings here... I didn't mean to put a halt to this topic with my venting. Please feel free to continue. I'll survive."

Not at all! Sometimes threads just slip to the bottom of the list only to get revived again. As for myself, sometimes I intend to respond but go off to do something else first. Then I can't remember where I wanted to make that comment.


message 29: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Greer | 5 comments I know this frustration all too well. The one thing I know for sure is that I cannot read Brandon Sanderson novels when I am writing. haha. When I do that, everything I write feels like crap. However, no matter how things get, it is easy to forget that we are our own worst critics. Keep on writing your story because other people are going to love it.


M. Ray Holloway Jr.   (mrayhollowayjr) | 180 comments Thank you to everyone who responded to my post. I feel much better after reading your comments. I see now that many of us go through these same processes. I will continue to write the things that move my heart the most and let the world sort them out. I'm not sure that I could do any less.


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