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 . . .