Archive for March 1, 2013

My Insecurities

Want to meet someone insecure? Go looking for a writer. You’ll have to drag them out of their hidey-hole first. That’s part of the problem.

By its very nature writing promotes self-doubt. Writers sit in dungeons, alone, and cast their most precious words out into the ether, and wait for someone to respond. And wait, and wait, and wait. At least the internet has made the waiting part a little better. How can a writer not sit and wonder, “Will they understand what I’m trying to do?”

If you have to explain it, you’ve lost. The work must speak for itself. So I’m about to lose big here.

I don’t like comparing books to movies. They’re two very different mediums. I’m not the kind of person who goes to a movie and moans that it’s not like the book. I don’t expect it to be. I don’t want it to be. I happen to believe books can do so much more than movies. That’s why I rebel against authors who never get into the mind of their characters. Why not just go make a movie? A lot of people who write serials like me even call their books an “episode” that are part of a “season” because people understand the television model better. I’m going half way. The individual books will be called episodes, but I chafe at comparing my work to a TV series.

All that being said, film is the medium of our era, and I’m going to use a film metaphor to make my point. My Babylon uses plot the same way George A. Romero uses a camera. There’s a famous scene in Night of the Living Dead, lauded by critics, where the main character, Ben, is boarding up the house to keep out the zombies. He goes up to one of the windows, and a zombie comes through and grabs him. Romero sticks the camera in the zombie’s chest, and all through the viscous struggle, all you get is flailing limbs and mindless frenzy. When Ben finally pushes the zombie away, the camera stays put, but as the zombie staggers back the frame opens up, and you see another zombie behind him, and then another, and then another. You get the feeling if the zombie keeps going back and the frame keeps opening you would see zombies for miles, across the county, the state, the world. Then we’re back in the house with Ben, and everything is up close and frantic again.

I hope My Babylon does that. I hope you see a very personal story, and then every so often, glimpse the titanic scale of the struggle. Or maybe you won’t. Or maybe you’ll see it now because I put the idea in your head. Either way, my insecurity has gotten the better of me.

Why not post a comment, drop me an email, send an ask on tumblr? Because I’m still in the house, alone, and the zombies of my insecurities are threatening.