For the last month, I’ve been working on a new paranormal romance series proposal. Two months ago, I was pretty certain it would take until spring, maybe summer before I could even begin to start thinking of a new series. The world-building involved is time consuming and arduous. It is a labor of love and an investment. I have to create something solid, then I have to love it enough to make it real and chance not selling it.
It’s the loving part that makes the work involved worthwhile. It is also what creates the risk. Will an editor love it? Will readers? Will I be able to complete the world? And biggest of all: Will I be able to do it justice?
The latter question has become very important to me over the last two years of my career. I started out by writing what I loved to read. From there, I began putting my own twists into storylines that I enjoyed and writing what I wanted to read but couldn’t find. All the while, I seriously challenged my characters, really ran them through the wringer. But I came to realize that I wasn’t seriously challenging myself. I was writing what I was good at and what I was comfortable with. There’s a lot to be said for going that route. It was a damn sight less stressful for me, for sure. It was also limiting. I reached the conclusion that I needed to start tackling ideas that were too big for me.
Will I be able to do it justice? If I wasn’t doubtful about the answer to that question, I put the idea aside. I knew I had to do something bigger, greater, more if I wanted to be a better writer and stronger entertainer (and keep my career growing). When I tackled my first over-my-head project, I sat down with the editor who bought it and said, “I’m going to need all the support I can get with this. I’m pretty sure it’s bigger than me.” (And God bless editors who love challenges like that. They’re worth their weight in gold.)
And now, it seems, I’m really addicted to that fear of inadequacy. There’s something oddly delicious about tackling a story idea that’s so big/involved/unfamiliar it scares the crap out of you. Something crazily exhilarating about sitting down at the keyboard and thinking, “I know what has to happen, but can I pull it off?” I’ve had moments where I am absolutely positive I’m in over my head. Fortunately, those usually come in the wee hours of the morning when I’m exhausted and when I wake up, I have forgotten how panicked I was the night before.
So I’ve spent almost a month working on this new proposal, with plenty of “What the hell am I hoping to get myself into?” moments. It’s exciting and daunting and frightening. I love the concept and the world. I know in the right hands, it could be something awesome. I’m not sure I have those hands, which is why I started the story. I just hope I can do it justice. 🙂