Green-eyed Monster Sucks Out Soul

Have you read The Night Circus? I’m in the middle of reading it–a gift from my husband, who didn’t even know the book was on my wish list.

And as I’m wont to do when something captures me, I’ve read more about it online–like this interview on CNN.

I love the novel so far, and I’ll probably love it til the end. I’m like that when I give in to a book.

(I’d like to add that I don’t understand those who claim this book is “the next Harry Potter.” Yes, it is about magicians, but it is nothing like Harry Potter. It’s like saying How to Train Your Dragon is the next Lord of the Rings. And I certainly don’t see 12 year olds lining up to meet Ms. Morgenstern no matter how charming and delightful she is. Nor is the book part of a series…oh bother. I guess they’ve got to claim something is the next Harry Potter. They’re wishing.)

Anyway. Erin Morgenstern started the novel as a NaNoWriMo novel. Sigh. You know, I’ve written 7 NaNoWriMo… Her novel is about, obviously, a circus. A year and a half ago, I participated in Story-a-Day. The stories were all meant to be fairy tales. And in the city the stories take place in, a circus sits in the heart of it. Granted, many of the cities don’t mention the circus, but it is there, in my mind, and it is open only at night. Sigh.

It isn’t anything like the circus in Morgenstern’s book. But…you know know that if the collection of stories were ever published, everyone will think, Oh, like The Night Circus!

But her book is beautiful. (And did I mention that Ms. Morgenstern is also an artist?)

My book has been eviscerated by a foaming, rabid beast.

I’d like to tell you that I wrestled the best with great strength of character and defeated it. But in truth I think I’ve thrown myself under its claws.

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4 responses to “Green-eyed Monster Sucks Out Soul

  1. Oh man, I hate that! Recently while I was researching markets for BVA I came across a book from a tiny e-publisher that dealt with the afterlife, with angels and devils, and different dimensions, and what did they call the shadowy central location? Of course, the author called it the black veil. And it’s not like I thought the concept was super-original, except it was, because I’ve been living with the black veil for 20 years. I feel so betrayed that this person got his crappy little book published by a crappy little company, and now I’ll always feel like people know his was published first, even though very few will have read it. (Weirdly, I was angry also because his publishing with that “crappy little company” meant I couldn’t submit to said company.)

    I’m not bitter.

    But I have to remind myself (and you) that there is no new concept, and our books are most likely different enough from those others that no one will care even if they do make a connection. And these things won’t hurt our chances of success. And I’m glad you’re enjoying the book.

    • Thanks, Sherri.

      That’s crazy about BVA. I understand how you feel.

      Logically I know everything you say is true. There are no new concepts. Maybe I’d have felt less crazed if the book had been awful, but reading it–seeing how she fit the pieces together–and loving the story…well, I could see why she is published and I am not. And suspecting that I can’t get a novel into that kind of shape.

      Somewhere in childhood I developed a fear of having this dream of being a writer and yet lacking the final bit of talent one needed to make the dream of reality. I don’t mean having no talent at all. I’ll admit I think I have some, just not enough. Sigh. It isn’t helpful thinking at all.

      • My fear is similar, only I’m worried I get published by accident and then be unable to live up to my contract obligations or reader expectations. I think the thing that has helped me the most is to release all hope. That’s sort of the opposite of what people have told me to do, but once I released hope I opened up. I’ll be happy, even if I’m never a best-seller. Living in the moment.

        It’s so hard to tell where we sit on the continuum of unpublished writers, talent-wise. I wonder if there’s room for a professional truth-teller in this business. Not an editor, but someone who reads your body of work and tells you your chances of publication, or specific changes you’d have to make to increase those chances. They probably wouldn’t make very much money, I guess, but it would be a valuable service.

  2. I’ve heard successful writers say there was some teacher or other person who read their work and then said, “You aren’t a writer.” And said writer went on to defy that proclamation. Who could ever be such a truth-teller? It would have to be an oracle from the gods. We’d have to make a pilgrimage to the holy site, set our labors at the oracle’s feet, and wait for judgment.

    I’m terrified just thinking about it.

    I guess we have to keep plunging ahead in the darkness.

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