A writer's doubts

9 January 2014 07:08

I am currently working on a series of Urban Fantasy novellas, and recently completed the alpha reading version of the first book in this series. While my alpha readers are taking a crack at it, I am in the process of outlining the second book, which I hope to start writing next week.

In addition to my outlines, I’ve written an extensive document with back story and plot progression throughout the series, and had it checked by a friend who is an expert at finding plot holes - while he had many questions and a number of good suggestions, the plot and motivations seem to be pretty solid. In other words, I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Instead, there’s this nagging feeling that this book simply isn’t as good as others I’ve written, a fear that I’ve screwed up with this book.

But why?

Doubting the quality of one’s work comes pretty natural for most authors. I went through the same doubts with Gift of the Destroyer (okay, that was my first book and definitely not my best), and from what I can tell, it’s a natural part of the : creative process":


I think I’m at stage 5 now.

The Raven’s Endgame went through a similar "this is shit" period, but I felt really confident about the story after I trashed it halfway in, and started over. For Hunter’s Chosen, I never really had much doubts - I was writing in a universe I was familiar with, and the resolution of that story had been in my head even before I started writing The Raven’s Endgame.

The Troll Warriors of Sheepbane I did have some doubts about, but considering the length and light nature of the book, those were never a major concern.

So why do I have so many doubts about my current project?

  • It’s new. Like Gift of the Destroyer, it’s the first part in a series with an untested concept
  • It’s a different genre. The Hunter in the Dark was High/Epic fantasy. The current series is Urban Fantasy
  • It’s a different perspective. The Hunter in the Dark was told from third person perspective, the current series is from first person perspective, which I find more limiting.
  • It takes place in "the real world". I am describing actual places in the new novel, in a world whose rules I (mostly) cannot control.
  • It has yet to be finished by anyone other than myself.

With this in mind, I believe the best thing I can do is to simply keep going. Alpha reader feedback will come back eventually, and it’s really hard to find flaws the writer does not agree with (unless the writer in question is particularly dense, but I don’t believe that applies to me).

Until then, I guess I should try not to worry too much, or at the very least: not let it impact my writing.