Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fear Not to Leave an Answer

It's that time of month again for What's Your Answer. Today's questions are based on The Blood-Red Pencil's topic for October, which is Fear.

It's easy to participate. I'll present three questions and my answers. You can answer one or more of them. One answer means you get more room to expand on your answer. For more than one, please limit your space for each. Only one website or blog link, please.

My questions and answers are:

Q: When you start a book, are you afraid your inspiration will vanish and you'll never make it to that last page?

A:  Yes. I usually have an idea how a book will begin and how it will end, but I need to count on my imagination and perseverance to fill in the blanks. I've never written an entire book while in the flow, but wish I could. At times I have to force my mind to think plots through, and ask myself if what I've written makes sense.

Q: After you've finished a manuscript and it's about to be released, do you ever get scared that no one will like it?

A: Yes, that happens with each of my releases. I hear it's a common affliction among authors.

Q: Do you present programs which in some way promote your book(s) and/or the publishing industry, or are you afraid of public speaking?

A: I've given such programs at conferences, libraries, tour groups, book clubs, and my local RWA chapter. I get a little nervous each time, but as long as I have some water and a cheat sheet handy, I'm okay. Those two items keep my two biggest program fears at bay: having an unexplainable coughing fit, or a brain freeze.

Now it's your turn. Leave your answer(s) in the comment section below.

Morgan Mandel
Morgan Mandel's latest release is the romantic comedy, Her Handyman, on kindle. Other books available are the thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, romantic suspense, Killer Career, romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, and mystery, Two Wrongs. She's also a contributor to The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories.

Website: http://www.morganmandel.com
Twitter: @MorganMandel

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  1. (1) Never. I have absolute faith that, sooner or later, I'll fill in the middle for the prologue and climax I've already written.
    (3) Rarely. A lifetime as a public speaker has used up any fear I may have once had.
    (2) Always. Even long after a book has been critically acclaimed and has sold well, the deep doubts that it has any redeeming value remain.

  2. I've been telling stories so long that I'm convinced I can talk my way out of any hole. Whether it's true or not remains to be seen, but still, no fear there. If an idea pops into my head, I know I can see it through to a satisfying conclusion.

    You'd think the lifelong positive reception to my stories would make me confident about the next one, but it never does. Curse you, Resistance!

    I've done loads of events around my non-fiction, but now that I'm working on my 2nd and 3rd mysteries simultaneously, I plan to find something fun to do publicly with 'em. I love being in front of a group of people almost as much as I love writing. Almost.

  3. I think most of us who write can attest to the fact that we always doubt our work is really good and that people will like it. That is why positive reviews mean so much. I am thrilled that my Seasons mystery series is getting so many wonderful reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus and Library Journal, but the feedback that means the most is from readers. When one person wrote to me to say how much they loved OPEN SEASON and that it was a good as Lee Child's books, that was a thrill. I am a huge fan of his work and to be put in the same ballpark with him was quite an honor.

    Even with that, however, I still wonder as I start the third book in the series. Will readers like it? Were those first two books just flukes? I used to start my writing workshops by saying that insecurity is the hallmark of any writer, and nothing has changed. (smile)

  4. 1. Sort of ... but it's not loss of inspiration, more like loss of effort.

    2. Not really ... I give it my best shot and hope that others will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    3. I'm not afraid of public speaking, but I am reluctant to ask for opportunities.

  5. 1. My problem is too much information between the beginning and the end, not a lack of it. I cut 20,000 words out of my first book before it went to press.

    2. I'm always afraid no one will like my story. Even as a child, I realized other people don't think like I do. Does this affect my books? I don't know, but the feedback has been mostly good.

    3. I intensely dislike speaking in fromt of an audience. I've been on radio and television and spoken to groups. In all cases, the stage fright nearly did me in. Maybe this is because I stutter. Whatever the reason, I do my best to avoid any kind of public speaking.

  6. #1 - those ideas that fizzle go to an idea file where they may be used elsewhere. I've done it before.
    #2 - you can't please everyone so I don't worry about it.
    #3 - I have never had the chance to promote to a bunch of people first hand. I'll probably be a nervous wreck, and I'll DEFINITELY need some sort of cheat sheet or cards.

  7. 1. No. I'm very much an in the moment writer. Inspiration strikes in strange places.

    2. Yes. My first book is coming out toward the end of the month and I'm a nervous wreck.

    3. I strongly dislike public speaking. I know I need to overcome that so I can do a book tour.

  8. Nope to the first. I always know I will finish what I start. I don't always know if it will be any good...

    Kinda to the second. I think most writers worry that someone won't like a book. That said, others will like what I write. Hope the balance tips to the "like" column.

    Nope to the third. I, too, have spent most of my working life speaking to groups. No fear theres.

  9. Wow, thanks everyone for your frank answers, and for tackling so many of the questions!

    Morgan Mandel

  10. Wow, thanks everyone for your frank answers, and for tackling so many of the questions!

    Morgan Mandel


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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