Friday, August 5

Help Me Get Rid of This Monster

What if? The most annoying question in the English language. At least it is to me. My days and nights have been filled with what if. What if no one buys my book? What if selling this one was just a fluke? What if I can't write another one that's better than the first? And the list goes on and on.

I want to be one of those writers that can't go a day without writing. I'm not. I know that there have been weeks when I sit in front of the screen and don't write a word. Facebook and twitter don't count. I can come up with a story idea and write all day. Then I get to chapter four and everything falls apart.

It's like a new relationship. Everything's gravy when it's new. All the characters are on their best behavior because they want to impress you. Then you get used to each other, and you realize your characters have annoying habits that piss you off. And the arguments start. You start wondering why you ever thought there was a story there. After a couple of days/weeks/ of silence, you kiss and make up. And the story goes on. And at the end, although you're relieved, you're kind of sad to say good-bye.

I like to get my characters into situations that they can't get out of. And that's when I hit the wall. I want to get them out of it, but I don't want it to seem contrived. Like they suddenly get a magical power they didn't possess at first and it's just what they need to get out of a tight spot. Remember MacGyver? The hit TV series in which a man could make a bomb out of a chewing gum wrapper? That might have worked in the eighties, but I don't think it would fly now.

What if I can't find a way to get them out of it? I usually do, but every day, what if comes along and sits its annoying butt on my shoulder. Anyone else have this little monster on their shoulders? If so, how do you knock him off?
What if doesn't want me to know how to get rid of him. But screw him. He's making my shoulder hurt.


  1. My "what if" is....what if everything I write is crapola?

  2. Great post! And I have a little monster just like that.

  3. Redirect "what if" to your stories. Let him run amok in there :)

    My bad what if moments come at night. And I toss and turn.

    What if the tree falls on my house, my bedroom? Okay, that's my most recent one after 1/3 of my cherry tree rotted and fell on the neighbors fence. Another third is angled toward my bedroom or kitchen.

    Good post.

  4. I think the What-If monster is universal - writers, actors, even CEOs and entrepreneurs wonder if they can follow up.

    I like Margie's suggestion - send the monster into your WIP and see what kind of havoc he can cause there...might keep him busy enough to let you write! :)

  5. LOL...your shoulder hurts. That's just funny. But I can completely sympathize with your pain. I do the same thing, worry. All the time.