Shortly after my rambling, apparently unpopular last post, where I discussed the circlings of my mind (mostly the Tudor dynasty, X-men, sci-fi novels, and half nekkid boys), I realized why my brain was in overdrive. After all my lamenting about whether or not to wait for the impending edits on my *Jesus light* first novel before writing anything new, my mind seemed to short circuit. I was unable to focus on anything at all. Even the mindlessness of video games was too much for me. My greatest joy was watching SyFy movies like Swamp Shark, Sharktopus, Malibu Shark Attack, Alligator X, and all those others. Also, they were, all I could focus on.
The reason? Well, to make a lame comparison to the movies I was watching, my mind was circling like a hungry shark around my next novel idea. Each of the subjects I was bouncing on had some part, large or small, in my thought processes, ideas, inspirations, and plot points for the new stuff. It was like I was too stupid for my own brain - I'm hardly Encyclopedia Brown, and it took all that time to figure out what my brain was trying to tell me.
When I realized that, things kicked into "normal" mode. Scenes started haunting me, I dreamed about the characters, I woke out of pre-sleep with the name for something I had been thinking idly about (and without intellectual fruit). I started making notes on a time line (as there will be more than one), wrote a scene, and then...
I received another e-mail from my editor.
She was just touching base with me (which I love) and to tell me that she should have my first round of edits done very soon. How soon? Well, today or tomorrow, not to put too fine a point on it.
I'm thrilled and totally dismayed. I told her that was great news and proceeded to shimmy for most of the day. She happened to e-mail me on my birthday and, considering that I had chosen that day to switch the gas bill from my ex's name to mine (requiring a shut down and restart and therefore three days without gas), I needed that good news.
But, now I'm back to the same place I was, only worse. Do I work on the new idea? Do I put it off, hoping this desire to work on it will return when I'm done with edits? Do I work on them both at the same time and hope neither suffers? Most likely I will go back to the planning stages and refrain from the actual scene writing for now. Once I'm done with the first edits, maybe I will be ready to spring back into the new stuff with all the groundwork done.
That's not my real problem, though. It's my nerves. This is the next big step and though I'm incredibly excited, I'm also anxious. I have checked my e-mail several times today and been both anguished and relieved when there was nothing new in there. Part of me wants my editor to rip me to shreds, to be kind but brutal, to take it apart, cut it up, and put it together and make it as good as it can be. I don't want it to be "good enough". I want it to be as good as possible. But I can be fragile and sensitive at the same time. Criticism is difficult to take, especially when it's something you care about.
However, it's something I'm gonna have to get used to. It's not like once it goes out into the world it's going to be universally embraced and loved by everyone. In my last post I discussed one of my favorite books ever, The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge. It won the Hugo award and its successor was nominated for one. They don't just give those away. Yet it has its detractors. Some of Stephen King's best work is routinely bashed.
The classics will eternally be manhandled by the ignorant and the young. Who hasn't heard some school kid complain that The Scarlet Letter or Lord of the Flies or Pride and Prejudice are "boring" or "hard to understand" or "stupid" or "OMG, a total waste of time!"? (Granted, these are usually the folk who think the Twilight "Saga" is the epitome of literary grandeur.) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is pooped on regularly for the dumbest of reasons (suspension of the smallest amount of belief in a story which calls itself "a fable", usually). Hell, even The Diary of Anne Frank gets people saying it's boring or not good or they couldn't get into it.
So, I'm bound to be trashed if these wonderful books are. There are going to be people who don't like talking and want more sex (request denied!). There are going to be people who don't understand parts of it, relationships within, parallels, or anything about it (the eternal justification of a spurned "artist", right?). Some people won't like it at all and will be particularly vocal about it. I have to be ready for that.
So, my (hopefully) thick skin will have to get thicker. I will have to center on my desire for the best possible outcome. I will have to learn to eat critics on toast with strawberry jam.
Of course, I am way ahead of myself here. For now, I just have to breathe, do my time lines for the new, relax, wait for the old/current, and hopefully prepare to be shredded. Is it masochistic of me to be excited?