Monday, September 5, 2011

The Book That Scares You

I hear that tossed around a lot - the idea that there is a book within yourself that you are too afraid to write. I thought it was my last manuscript, MEANTIME, ELSEWHERE until I read a book hauntingly beautiful and I wondered if I had it in me to write in a similar way. More literary, I suppose. Most everything I write is full of my kind of humor with dark themes, but is definitely more concept or commercial than it is literary.

So, I gave it a go and wrote MONSTERS SYNONYMOUS. Honestly, I think it's the best thing I've ever done. It was so hard to write it, but the challenge of it pushed me in ways I never imagined. It is also -quite ironically- the fastest I have ever written a book. Even though I'm aware literary books aren't as popular as commercial, I don't regret doing it. I feel like it opened up a whole new world for my writing by doing it. I look forward to writing my next one, and entertain the idea of rewriting older stuff. Yes, I'm sort of nutty like that.

Anyhoo, any of you ever tried this? Going so outside your familiar and comfortable territory - be it writing or entertainment or anything - and discovered this whole new world you'd been missing out on?


Lindsey Duncan said...

I haven't done the book that scares me yet, but I'm allowing myself to be more daring and ambitious in what I tackle. It's been wonderful and helped expand my craft so much. Well, I hope!

(The book that frightens me, btw, is a fantastical reinterpretation of the Helen of Troy legend ...)

Jamie B said...

Not yet, but I'm trying. :) I'm taking baby steps and writing a few short stories first. I'd actually like to write some poetry or lyrics, but that is something I am not near confident enough to do yet.

Alleged Author said...

I, too, wrote outside my comfort level and loved the product. So glad you wrote something you love!

vic caswell said...

i'm a big believer in working different muscles in your creative body. pushing into different genres, different mediums, understanding different theory... i think it makes you grow!
i'm happy for you!

Anne Gallagher said...

I've still got the book that scares me inside my brain. I'm not ready to write it yet. I need more time.

A.T. Post said...

Hell, I'm still grappling with the fear of my FIRST novel...

Jon Paul said...

Following Postie's lead, I'm still at the stage where every book I've worked on scares me--mostly because I'm really good at picking ideas--it truly seems an unconsciously congenital trend!-that are beyond my current skill level.

This is why, though I have about six pretty good (IMHO) novel ideas laying around in various stages of completion, I've completed none of them.

So yes, I need to settle down, set the fears aside and dive in. But isn't that the challenge--as you so adroitly describe--we all face?


Jon Paul said...

Hey--forgot to mention: It's been awhile since I stopped by--for that I offer a million apologies and a promise to rectify--and I love what you've done with the place.

In particular, love the banner photo. Very inspiring!

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss christi! hooray for doing that book that scares you. for me im just starting out and finding out what i could like but im not scared to do all sorts of other stuff. i got one im gonna do in first person and thats some scary for me cause i didnt ever do that before.
...hugs from lenny

xoxo said...

Hmm, I have yet to come across a book that truly scares me. Most of the things that scare me don't exist and then I forget about them but I've never met them in a book.

Jerry said...

' was also...the fastest I have ever written a book'. This kind of confirms my suspicion that when one locks onto something special to them, they can fly with it. Congratulations.

I recognized a few years ago that I don't have the attention span to stay with a subject long enough to do it justice. And I admire those that can.

Dawn Ius said...

Great post! I think EVERY book I start scares me on some level - the self-doubt most writers feel, coupled with questions about story development, or facing a blank page. My solution (if I can call it that..because I'm still scared) is to start MANY projects in different genres. I alternate between "genius" and "idiot" mode with regularity so I'm bound to push past the fear on ONE of the projects :-)

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