02 April 2016

Bigger Than Me

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE REVISION PROJECT. Topics I come across while I write the third draft of my novel, Uneven Lines.**

“You can, if you want to. It’s not a big deal.”
“It is, though. It’s a very big deal.” 

A story can feel like a big deal. Sometimes writers choose their story ideas. Other times, the stories choose them. Well, what happens if you're not the right person for that story? What if despite all of your passion and desire to write it, it's just too much for you to handle?

UL has never been the right story for me, especially at the beginning. The idea seemed to come out of nowhere and was nothing like any story I had ever thought of before. Let's start with the fact that I thought I was done writing fiction. I was way more into poetry and hadn't thought of any new story ideas for a few years when this one came along. I'd never written from a male perspective, let alone a gay teenage boy's. Swears were a rare occurrence in my writing and sexual descriptions made me squeamish. It was weird and different, and yet I had never felt so passionate about a story idea in my entire life.

Of course at this point, I've been working on it for so long that it does seem normal, but that took time (and a stubborn muse). And I still don't think I'm strong enough to write it.

Let me explain. This is the kind of story that takes guts to write, and even more guts to publish. It's not a lighthearted story and it's not one that most people are going to respond to. I've already experienced negative feedback, and more than once. First, when I workshopped the original short story version in my fiction writing class, and then when I entered the novel into Pitch Wars. And this wasn't your typical "this needs some editing" feedback. People hated it.

I know this story isn't for everyone, and I'm ok with that. But I don't have the guts for the negative feedback. I take it hard. Super hard. I'm just a sensitive person. So why on earth would I be writing a controversial story like this? I really don't know. It's just that it popped in my head one day. I really had no say in it.

So if none of this is up to me, then who is it up to? Is it crazy to believe that the universe gave me this idea because it has bigger plans in mind? What if writing this story is just the beginning? What if there are other people out there who this story will affect or help? What if it leads to more--more books, a movie deal, who knows? Why am I asking you all of these questions??

If the universe does have bigger plans, what if I'm not strong enough to pull it off? I actually believe the universe sent me a sign about this, but that happened over three years ago. What if I've taken too long? I don't like to share the details because I feel like I'll jinx it, but there were just a lot of coincidences that lined up at once. I always thought I didn't believe in coincidences, but now I'm not so sure. What happens when time runs out on my dream? I don't even know how much time I really have. What if I can't finish?

I couldn't think of a picture for this post, but I immediately thought of a song that fits! So I'm going with that. This is a live performance of "Stray Italian Greyhound" by Vienna Teng, and this song definitely rings true for my mindset when I first started writing this story. And maybe it still does.

so what do I do with this/ this stray Italian greyhound/ these inconvenient fireworks/ this ice-cream-covered screaming hyperactive thought/ god I just want to lay down/ these colors make my eyes hurt/ this feeling calls for everything that I am not


  1. I'm having a similar experience with my current WIP. It's dark, really dark, (which is saying something when one considers my first book) and I'm not convinced I'm either strong or smart enough to write the story the way it needs to be written. I'm afraid to send it to my beta readers because if it really is terrible (because the MC is so negative and somewhat morally ambiguous), I'm afraid they won't be willing to read anything else.

    Hang in there, keep working. There's an audience out there for your book. And if the universe has a bigger plan, aren't you curious to find out what?

  2. That's intense. I haven't yet had a story that *forced* me to write it like that. Good luck getting it out - sometimes that's more important than other people liking it.. though I'm sure you'll find your audience eventually!

    Happy B Day!
    ~AJ Lauer, an A-Z Co-host
    Twitter: @ayjaylauer

  3. I understand that compulsion to write certain things. And I know I've had books that have made a difference in my life. continue to persevere.

  4. That must be tough. I've never attempted anything that could be considered controversial, except maybe m/m/m romance in one of my sci-fi fantasy stories, that some people objected to purely on the basis of it being romance between men and therefore icky. That type of rejection is simple and obvious and easy to deal with, though.

    Good luck with whatever the universe has planned for UL.

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X

  5. Be Bold! This must be your story to tell, it came to you. Criticism is good. If it's criticism that will make you a better writer, or tell the story in a better way. If it's just criticism because someone doesn't like the topic ignore it. Don't take it personally! Also, look where the criticism is coming from. Is it someone who knows what they are talking about, or someone who couldn't string a paragraph together if their life depended on it. Tell your story. And publish it. And move on.
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

  6. Sometimes we just have to write the words that come to us. Maybe we don't feel worthy or up to the task, but write them anyway. You never know who they may touch and they certainly won't touch anyone if the story never goes out into the world.
    Discarded Darlings

  7. You do have to listen to the universe. It has important things to say.

  8. My first book was like that. Finishing it was hard because it went to such a dark and sad place. I haven't published it yet. But like you, I had a passion to tell the tale. Best of luck on thickening your skin for the criticism when it comes.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  9. I honestly wonder every day if my book will go anywhere and if it does, will I be able to handle it. You're certainly not alone.

  10. I love Vienna Tieng. :-) I read the back of a shirt today that struck me: "You never know how strong you are until the day your strength is all you have." Good post.

  11. I think your book idea sounds awesome! It's great to have such passion, inspiration, and to stretch your boundaries. You may surprise yourself! Good luck on it and on the A-Z! :)

  12. There's this story I started for Nanowrimo a few years back - I really loved the idea... but as I started writing it, I realised that I just didn't have the depth for it. Part of the reason was that it was turning pretty political and serious, whilst I usually do fantasy. I'm keeping it on the back burner for now - would still like to write it... but maybe not just yet.

    ATSP @ Deeply Shallow

  13. You have to go with your heart. As long as you feel it's a story you can tell, then do it. Damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead!

  14. I like the idea that the story chooses you. Maybe that's what happened to me. I have a fantastic idea for a novel, but it keeps getting shoved to the back burner. No matter what I do, I can't get to it. So frustrating!

  15. You've voiced what I've been thinking for the past two years... only ever so much more eloquently than I ever could.

    My story isn't controversial, but I fear it is too simple - already been done a hundred times before - good for the 20th century but not the 21st.

    You post inspires me to keep on keeping on.

  16. Firstly, I love the title of your novel! You know what I hear in your post: passion. I honestly do. Write this story for you. After that, you never know where it could go. (I know writing for ourselves with no expectations of our work being shared with others can feel daunting. Writing a novel like this is a ton of work.) Just concentrate on the positives in each time you write any part of this story. Even a mere sentence. They all count. :)

  17. Because we don't write for them.
    And you are strong enough.
    And you will finish.
    And it will be great.

    Heather M. Gardner / @hmgardner
    Co-Host, Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    The Waiting is the Hardest Part