Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group and Writer's Revenge

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and I almost forgot that it's time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. Luckily I'm getting it in just under the wire. So here’s my insecurity for June . . .

For over a year now I’ve been waiting for the day when my book will FINALLY be picked up by a publisher and enter the literary world. I’ve had to deal with the fear that this day will never come, an insecurity which, frankly, grows each passing month.

However, one insecurity that never occurred to me until recently was what happens AFTER publication finally comes. In my fantasies, everyone from kids to critics loves it, it’s a massive hit, and I’m an overnight success. (I’ve never been accused of being overly practical.) But what happens when that is NOT the result? When it inevitably gets a two thumbs down, zero stars and a pile of reviews that make me want to jump off a cliff?

I’ve decided, should a high enough cliff not prove easy to find in Houston, Texas, I’ll go with Plan B and follow the example of New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille. In 1992, DeMille wrote a military thriller called The General’s Daughter. Several years later the novel was adapted into a film featuring big names like John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe and Timothy Hutton.

Unfortunately, critics generally panned the movie and it received many negative reviews. One critic in particular – John Anderson of Long Island’s Newsday – must have made a real impression on the author, for a year later when DeMille’s next novel – The Lion’s Game – hit the stands, it contained a rather interesting reference. When the novel’s main character, John Correy, catches a plane heading from New York to LAX, he states . . .

“The First Class meal wasn’t too bad and the movie, starring John Travolta playing an Army CID guy, was terrific, despite a bad review I recalled reading in Long Island’s Newsday, written by John Anderson, a so-called movie critic, whose opinion I trusted to be the exact opposite of mine.”

Needless to say, DeMille is my new hero. He got the ultimate writer’s revenge, demonstrating to critics everywhere why you should NEVER mess with a novelist. I’ll have to keep this enlightened response in mind for the future.

Critics beware . . . 


  1. Ha!

    I imagine he was laughing all the way to the bank.

  2. ps I just have to say (having just read it for the first time) I LOVE your All Time Greatest Action Heroines and I LOVE even more that you included Mindy from Kick Ass. Awesome post.

  3. Ha, ha! Good for him! He had some bold guts!

    It isn't just critics who need to beware the novelist. Insensitive supervisors and obnoxious ladies in ski lodges who yell at your daughters for having lunch at "her" table also need to beware novelists.

  4. Great revenge! I have similar insecurities. I don't know if, when I do enter the world of the published (I'm trying to boost my confidence by saying when instead of if)I'll read too many reviews. No matter how great your work is, not everyone is going to love it. It's inevitable.

  5. haha! That is a great story. I think you have to prepared that there will always be someone who won't like your story.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  6. I would never have thought of doing anything like that.

  7. I haven't even thought about what happens AFTER. Perhaps I should prepare (or maybe not. Ignorance is bliss and all that).

  8. Classic, though I agree ignorance is always bliss

  9. That's brilliant. And definitely something I'll consider if I'm ever in that position!

  10. That's funny! Don't think I could ever do it, but funny.

  11. Yeah. That's one insecurity we don't consider until the time comes to put our work out there. But if your writing is anywhere as good as your blog and taste in books and movies, then I'm sure you have nothing to worry about.

    P.S: Have I ever told you that you rock!? Oh, well, now you know. ;)

  12. Hah! That's a mighty tasty cold dish, I must say. :-D
    Some Dark Romantic

  13. I don't think I'd care to give people I don't respect the dignity of immortalizing them in my fiction. I only do it with people I care about.

  14. I just read a blog post today that had a FANTASTIC reminder in it.... that writing is about the journey. WE ARE LIVING THE DREAM!! We are! Right now! Because we're writing! And we love it! And out dream is to be writers!! And even if getting published is the ultimate dream... WRITING is part of getting published. Its part of the process.

    So, my lovely BWFF, just remember... you're livin' the dream!

    I thought that was a great little sentiment.... something I had personally forgotten in all my dreary wo-is-me-ing lately.

  15. AFTER is the nail biting part, I agree. But you can't worry about "what ifs" ever or that's all you'll do your entire career...life etc... Focus on creating a great book and the rest will follow.

    And if all fails, use THE FORCE!