The Hero’s Journey, Part 2: SCARY!!!

Post Date: June 16th, 2010

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

— C.S. Lewis

Querying is fearsome, daunting, nerve wracking…but it’s also one of those times when you feel most alive.

On the hero’s journey, it’s that time when the heroine bushwhacks through the wilderness, dodges possum critters and explosions in the fire swamp, and resolves that SHE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH NO MATTER WHAT.

Okay, so I’m a little dramatic. This is the same granddaughter who was just musing on how easy she has it compared to her grandmother. Like queries are going to be the death of me!

You can make all kinds of monsters in your mind, though. You can picture the disdainful agent at the other end of your email, not only too busy to respond but so not taken with your opening paragraph. You can picture him fed to the gills with horrible queries, great queries, and exciting bestseller projects that prove your story has already been said a million times and said much better.

Why must there be all this suspense and drama? Why can’t I be Zen? I suppose if I didn’t feel, I wouldn’t cry over my main character or feel compelled to tell her story. I suppose I’d be in some other job like counseling or diplomacy. I’d be the rock others clung to in crisis.

Instead, I, the writer, thrive on living through others’ crises. I am the voyeur who sniffs at their pain and tears up and swears this story has to be told. I can’t sleep at night for everyone’s stories running through my head, and I rise before dawn to get them down.

My novel is unique. Trust in that, as I brush off ticks, spiders, and scorpions; as I dodge quicksand and those weird possum creatures (what the heck were they in The Princess Bride???); as I swallow the nausea of being foolhardy enough to venture forward into this dark, dark forest with only a headlamp showing three feet ahead.

Ah, the drama. Only, there really were ticks on me this week, thanks to the swampy climes of Carolina. I’ll not take that as a sign of anything save parasites trying to hang on for the same dear life. I live for this writing thang, and querying is part of the deal. Get over it.

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