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Is Your Writing Your Precious Baby?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Philip Overby, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I'm curious how many people are afraid to submit to markets or finish novels because they feel that their writing is their "baby" and they don't want anyone to hurt it with rejection or negative reviews. I had that syndrome for a while. I've broke myself of it the past of couple of years. I'm not afraid to send stuff out anymore because, you know, who cares really? I've grown accustomed to people not liking my writing, but I've grown accustomed to them liking it too, so you win some, you lose some, right? :)

    How many of you have been working on the same novel for years and years? Why? Is it getting better each year that you don't finish it? Or is it just sort of sitting there, unsubmitted, because you don't want someone to not like it?

    I'm going to say, if you've been working on a novel longer than 5 years, just, I don't know, give it up or submit it somewhere. It's not going to hurt you to let it out into the world. Unless it's grafted to your body somehow. ;)

    Anyway, I'm getting a feeling, this will be the first time in my life that I'll have completed a full-length novel this year. I'm not going to let it sit for too long though. I'll edit it and then send it out. Then move on to the next thing.

    Can you do it? Or is your baby too precious and must be protected?
  2. My writing is my baby, but I am a father with high expectations.

    If I could focus on a single story for that amount of time, I believe I would have been published a long time ago.
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I don't mind sending mine out. Receiving a rejection, or getting negative comments doesn't bother me. I'd rather have acceptances and positive comments, of course, but if I get the other, then whatever...I send the story somewhere else, maybe with some revisions first and maybe not.
  4. JadedSidhe

    JadedSidhe Minstrel

    My precious baby has taken quite a few years to get as far as I have. My reason for not finishing isn't so much that I'm afraid to submit it as it has been life interfering.

    I'd have to say the one thing that scares me the most about submitting it once I finish is that should it be accepted, I'm afraid some whacked out artist is going to bork the cover. You know what I mean. How many times have you picked up a novel and the people on the cover don't look anything like the characters.

    My main characters aren't the mainstream perfect, mainstream gorgeous. They've got obvious burn scars. That's one thing guaranteed to make me want to put my steel toe boots on and do a tap dance on someone's desk.
  5. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    I'm not afraid of rejection so much as I'm afraid of publishers and editors watering down/bastardizing/neutering it in order to make it more appealing to "mainstream" readers. You know, that phantom audience who can't handle anything remotely new or different from what they're accustomed to because they're mindless sheep who will only by a book if the face on the cover is white. -_-

    Things that would be non-negotiable if a publisher picked up my book:

    • The ethnicity of characters will not be changed, and I will insist that they be accurately represented on the cover, or else not at all.
    • Any perceived religious references will not be toned down or removed. If it's there, its there for a reason.
    • I will not tone down any sophisticated vocabulary that might appear, because I have this insane notion that the reader is not, in fact, an idiot.
    • I will not add vampires, dragons, or anything else simply for commercial appeal.
    • I will not add sex scenes or romantic subplots for the sole purpose of pandering to the female demographic or to gain readership. Because no.

    There's probably more, but those are the ones that stand out right now. If it makes my book harder to sell, so be it.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  6. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I had a precious baby of a story, and it caused all sorts of trouble mostly because of my attitude to it; I should have given up on it long before I did. I was never happy with it, I wrote dozens of versions of my three or four favourite scenes, I obsessed over it. I ended up throwing out the world it was set in when I finally let go. The world was too much part of the main character, and vice versa; I cou;dn't have written a story set in that world without mention of the main character somewhere along the way.

    It's taken a while, but I've now developed a new approach. Yes I like the story I'm writing right now, but I'm not going to treat it the same way as I did with my old story. I'm going to let my characters be hurt or killed, I'm not going to cry over it, and I'm going to make it the best it can be and then see if it can fly, not constantly rewrite the same scenes over and over because I can't decide how the love story ends. In fact in my WIP, my main character is aromantic, so I can't go tripping on that old root again this time out.
  7. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    Writing is a form of storytelling. There are better storytellers out there than me. Just the way it is, but I work to get better at it knowing not everyone will enjoy what I hope to share.

    My novels and stories aren't special babies. They're stories that I find interesting and think others will too.
  8. Lorna

    Lorna Inkling

    If my novel's a precious baby it's a baby which has ripped apart and put back together several times whilst in the womb. I was hoping this third draft might be the last one, yet this is the first time I've shown the draft to beta-readers who have identified a number of problems. Beta-reading other people's work has improved my critical eye and helped me identify some major problems too. My baby is not yet ready to be born. Back into the womb...
  9. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    My babies turned 18. I booted them out of the house. Since then they've all been mauled a dozen times over. They have the scars and honesty, a few of them just sit in the corner now, rocking on their haunches, unable to tell me what happened. But in general, I stick a band-aid on them, give them a hug, and tell them it'll be fine right before I boot them out again.
  10. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    My stories aren't my "babies", but my characters are very dear to me (not that you'd know it because of the way I torture most of them). I'm not afraid of being rejected by publishers or agents, but I shudder to think of the fanfics people would write based on my stories, forcing my characters into situations and relationships that defy everything I made them to be (forcing straight people into gay romance, making sworn enemies fall in love, etc.).
  11. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    Sending work out doesn't bother me in the least anymore. I'm part of several writing/critique groups (live and virtual). You either learn that critique is your friend and to cherish those people that point out flaws or you rebel against them.

    If you can't learn to accept negative opinions or criticism you are stunting your growth as a writer. Channeling that fear of rejection and morphing it into a desire to improve is one of the things that separates those that wish to be successful from those that will.
  12. Helen

    Helen Inkling

    You see, I outline in detail so i'm always throwing parts out so i'm used to killing my babies.

    And I'm not afraid to send the work out because by the time it goes out I like it. Then it's like if someone else doesn't like it, then they're the crazy.

    Having said that, i'm also aware of self-delusion, so I listen to feedback from valued people.

    It's a delicate souffle.
  13. ShortHair

    ShortHair Sage

    For some reason I've never looked into the matter, but it appears that Tolkien took at least 25 years to develop his "legendarium" and another 10 to write Lord of the Rings. So I'm not going to defend myself for taking my time.
    Aravelle and Chilari like this.
  14. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

    My writing is my baby. It's got so much of me in it, so much time and energy... but I'm not afraid to submit it. If you are, you're coddling it and well... I will find you pathetic if you have any hope of taking up writing as a profession.
  15. My daughter is my precious baby. If anyone tries to do to her what people have done to my writing I will gut them like a fish and hang their entrails out on my front porch as a warning to anyone else who thinks they might be able to get away with it. But my writing? Well, it is what it is and people will either like it or hate it.
  16. Agran Velion

    Agran Velion Minstrel

    I wouldn't say writing is necessarily my baby, but more of my 'creation' (in a deity like sense). The world was forged by the darkest imaginings from the deepest recesses of my mind, and tempered with an ungodly amount of caffeine. The characters all have families, love, and wants, and I care for them deeply.

    That said, they may have to be sacrificed for a greater purpose *cough*plot*cough*.

    Is that blasphemy?
  17. J. S. Elliot

    J. S. Elliot Inkling

    This is oh so true, Ireth. Even though I write insanely slow, the prospect of fandom-wank - if it were to happen - is enough to make almost any author shudder. But it's something you have to just acknowledge and avoid, unfortunately.

    EDIT: I feel the need to clarify. Since I started writing with fanfiction, and still dabble in it occasionally, no, I don't diss the practice. It's only the dark recesses of the internet that makes some of the subject matter shudder-worthy.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  18. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    My sentiment exactly.

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