Reality and Reviews

I’ve been writing for over two decades, and writing fiction for eighteen years. Over that time I’ve developed a thick skin, and hopefully simultaneously managed to keep my ego in check (publically, at least…). I have fans and I have critics, and that’s exactly what you would expect. Would I like more of the critics to be fans? Of course. Would I change what I write about and how I write to do it? No.

The biggest benefit of experience is confidence. Not just self-confidence, but confidence in the professional and personal interactions that surround the life of the writer. I trust editors to give me honest feedback, I trust the fans that talk to me at events and post reviews online, and I trust my peers that give and listen to advice and war stories every time I see them.

As much as it can frustrate me, I like getting stuff put through the editorial wringer, because at the end of the process I am confident that I have delivered something worthwhile (even if sometimes it doesn’t seem that way when I first open the email).

But confidence does require topping up. Though I wouldn’t like to speak for anyone else, there’s been so many times I’ve heard writers of all experiences utter a verison of the ‘I am a fraud’ fear, it must be near-universal. I expect J K Rowling and George R R Martin still wake up some days thinking someone will knock on the door and tell them, ‘Actually, we were kidding, just being nice to you. Your writing sucks, can we all have our money back please?”

This is one of the reasons I’ve been giving time to short fiction outside of the Black Library, both to work on ideas for some original fiction series I hope to work on later and also to spread the net for different feedback, different audiences.

It’s nerve-wracking in a way that sending in the latest 40K or Horus Heresy story can never be. Whatever the reaction from the editors, there is always some pre-arrangement with Black Library, I never send anything that hasn’t been agreed on. Only the quality of the writing remains to be scrutinised, the idea has already been judged sound.

With original fiction there is always the possibility of outright rejection. Of the fraud being uncovered. Not only does your writing suck, but your ideas are bad too!

But the reward is there as well. The praise is not tempered by working in someone else’s universe, addressing a group of fans already dedicated to it. Folks will like it (or not) wholly based on what is within the words on the page.

imageWhich is a really, really long-winded way of saying that I was very happy to see this review of Reality Bites, which contains my short story End Transmission.

This is a well-executed short with more than enough energy, imagination, and action rammed into it to keep absolutely anyone entertained. A superb contribution.

You can read the whole thing here:

Just the sort of thing to top up the old confidence jar, energising me to do even more short stories in the future.

Published in: on May 14, 2015 at 11:40 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Good to see you taking risks and keeping life interesting. 🙂


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