I’m having fun with the new book. This, of course, is worrying.
This will be the third in the Babylon Steel series; the characters are sparring enjoyably, cool stuff is happening, and I’m pretty much hanging on with both hands going ‘whee!” This is making me rampantly insecure for two reasons. Three reasons. Four…I’ll come in again.
Firstly, I am by nature a worrier. I worry about bills, illness, climate change, getting old. I worry about whether every cool individual shop and pub in existence is being eaten up by boring-pants monolithic chains and one day every high street in the world will look exactly the same and I’ll get lost even more easily than I do now. I worry about what that strange sticky stuff is on top of the cupboard and maybe something in the roof is leaking or maybe there’s a dead alien in the attic and its evil fluid of doom is infiltrating the house and I’ll wake up with tentacles and worse, it will totally trash the value of the house…you know. The sort of stuff anyone worries about.
Secondly, the minute I realise I am having fun and the book is actually going pretty well, it is inevitable that the Gods of Writing are going to sit on my head and afflict me with boils, or worse, a character I didn’t want who insists on doing the wrong thing or a scene that simply doesn’t want to get written, then, when I’ve done it six times, still refuses to work and then has to be cut.
Thirdly, and this is the kicker; am I having too much fun?
Hear me out. I do believe that you should have fun when you’re writing; that passion drives creation, and that if you don’t care about what you’re doing, or are just slogging through it, it shows. On the other hand, if you are simply enjoying yourself, and not thinking about the reader…will you end up appealing only to yourself?
There are authors I’ve gone off – or not read past the first few pages – because their books seemed too self-indulgent. This can take a number of forms; having fun at the expense of the reader, beating the reader over the head with their opinions on stuff I don’t care about and even if I did I should be hearing what your character thinks, not you, constantly referring back to the author’s own work, or just going off on a wild ride to places they wanted to visit, without bothering about whether I might prefer to go where I was led to expect I’d be going and, you know, had packed for.
And yet, rampant hypocrite that I am, I can see that I might want to do the same things, and probably have. And will. So what is the solution? Is there one?
Maybe I should just enjoy myself, and I can start angsting over it all in the rewrite. After all, it’s not as though I don’t have plenty of other things on my mind.
Oh, and the fourth reason? You know, I can’t remember. That’s something else to worry about.