I got the question, ‘What is your worst writing fear?’
As a storyteller, I don’t worry about making grammatical errors because I know, as sure as the Earth will continue to orbit the Sun, it will happen. And I know I’ll make every effort with the help from editors, who are much smarter than ‘I’, to weed out those nasty incantations that cause me to hide in naked literary shame.
I don’t worry about the length of a novel because the story should naturally unfold at its own pace. Or that I break some sacrosanct rule that the high priest of writing has cast down to us, we the tiny brained mortal who has the audacity to think they can create a meaningful story. And I don’t worry about writing an ugly scene showing how human beings can disgustingly treat their fellow man and then justify their actions using religion or political expediency.
I don’t worry about creating a stereotypical character that might swerve into being a cliché. And I don’t worry about writing a sex scene between a hot babe and a hairy, height-challenged dude while being filmed by three fat little pigs smoking cigars. However, what I write has to have a point and is not written to just shock the reader’s senses, because I respect the reader. But as you can tell, I really don’t much care what anybody else thinks, or says, or opines about my writing. I think to really write, to really devote your life to creating meaningful, art, as an artist you should be fearless. If writing is to evolve, the writer has to take risks. BUT, save for that one person, there is one person that I DO worry about, and I fear what that person thinks about from behind their eyeballs – the reader. I respect and fear only the reader because they have taken time from their life to read what I have created.
My worst, worst writing fear is that the reader will stop, reading. If my number one goal is to keep the reader reading, then I know all my effort should focus on writing that is well crafted, entertains, and informs. It is an odd tight rope that we have to navigate. If the story is almost pornographic that would seem to cater to our base impulses, but then again, some guy named, Vladimir Nabokov wrote – Lolita. Or another guy wrote using the ‘N-word’, that guy was named, Mark Twain. I think we all know there are numerous other examples of writers sharing an entertaining story that pushes our collective readerships – buttons. Right? Otherwise governments and school boards would have nothing left to do.
So my worst fear is that I stop the reader from reading something true, authentic and unfiltered. That I did not share with them my inner most thoughts, and take them on a short journey into a world they might not understand. Or a world that they secretly might want to investigate, but they just need to have the available literary transport to take them there. So, in the end, what I fear the most is a ‘shrug’ from the reader. If that happens, I know I have failed.