Review of “Bubba Cthulhu’s Last Stand” in combination with some authorial musings

I have been obsessively stalking occasionally visiting the Amazon page for Cthulhu Unbound Vol. 1 in hopes of seeing a review of my story. I’m pretty new to the Cthulhu mythos, so I don’t have a strong feel for the size of its fandom. However, there’s a review that specifically mentions my story and in a very positive light. “This was a grandly entertaining read,” said this reviewer.

Yay! I am now experiencing a happy authorial buzz, which might help to counteract the grim frustration of realizing that, however tightly my prose fits, because it didn’t really do a good job of characterization, I need to suck it up and rewrite it, not revise it. I find I often end up rewriting things that I would prefer to revise. It’s a strange feeling when I go back and read something that I want to add more personality to. I look for places to add a word or phrase, but whatever I pick, it upsets the flow of the prose, so I can’t just do a little rewiring, but have to start again.

Several people have told me to just set it aside and keep going, then come back to it later. I’ve done that a number of times, though, and it doesn’t help, because I know that, when I come back, I’ll be as out of ideas on how to fix it as when I left it. Instead of being able to move forward with the confidence that I will be able to fix the problem, it lurks in my psyche, distracting me from the writing process. It’s not a huge weight, but as a fan of Getting Things Done, I’m learning that any weight at all can be a problem.

The scene that started this whole angst is likely to be rewritten, because I realized that I could get more across if the characters were already nodding acquaintances, rather than meeting for the first time. (Introductions are always so awkward!) I can probably keep some of the dialog, but most of the background stuff is going to get shoved out. (And I think I’ll finally cave in and kill the “darling” turn of phrase that makes it a darker bit that I want it to be. Worry and concern is good, but the anger is out of place. All I’d get from it is a little shock value from the readers.)

All this angst about a piece of fan fiction! Yet in some ways, all this angst is only about a fanfic, so I can get it all out without the pressure that, in the end, some mighty editor sitting at a desk high in the clouds will be looking at it through glasses perched precariously on the tip of their nose and deeming me unworthy of publication. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about writing just for fun, for me, because I want to see a story happen. This might be a clue as to why I keep taking breaks from writing. It’s not that I get burned out, it’s that I get overwhelmed by the unrealistic expectations I put on myself. Since I would love some day to be able to write full-time, I need to find a way to deal with this recurring pattern that will let me be as prolific as possible. (Though I don’t think I’ll ever match the sheer churning-out-of-amazing-quality of the likes of Terry Pratchett and Brandon Sanderson.)

So, likely you will find more such ramblings from me as I try to deconstruct the psychological barriers between me and putting pen to paper. For some people, getting over it and writing might seem the more straightforward approach, but I have too much psycho-baggage as it is. (That sounds like my luggage is more insane than the Luggage!) Best to clear out the cobwebs so I can focus with a clear mind.

Also, somebody I’ve never met liked my story! 😀

One thought on “Review of “Bubba Cthulhu’s Last Stand” in combination with some authorial musings

  1. Christopher McKenna

    wow! You weren’t kiding, huh!

    Can’t wait to read one of your books!

    C

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