Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Fear of Making it Real

After something like five years of thinking about it, I finally started writing my next OGN (original graphic novel) this week. It's exciting and... a little terrifying.

I don't know how many creators feel this anxiousness when starting a project, but I doubt I'm alone. It's not that I don't think the project can be good. It's just the opposite. I know it can be good. I know it CAN BE very good. What scares the hell out of me is the possibility that I will somehow fail to make it as good as it can be.

I'm a good writer. I'm nowhere near a great one, but I have some talent and I work hard. I care about getting better. I take my craft seriously, particularly when the project is, like this one, something that is entirely my creation (At this point it is more or less my sole creation. That will soon change, as the artist is about to begin his part of the collaboration). Still, there is a difference between the potential of the project in my mind and the reality of the project on the page.

For example: A large part of Richard Matheson's brilliant book "What Dreams May Come" occurs in something like heaven. In this afterlife, history's great artists are busily and happily continuing to ply their craft. Now, though, without the tethers of real world concerns like paint, canvas and stone, the art flows directly from the artist's brain to creation. There is no middle man to screw the deal.

I feel something like that when I start a book. in my mind, this new project has vast potential. That potential is about to meet the reality of the page. I may be able to fulfill most of the potential I see in my mind, but I'll never be able to nail 100% of it. Even though I have written a very tight outline of this book... even though I have played out the scenes in my mind a dozen times, I'm not smart enough to have anticipated every obstacle I will encounter when actually writing the script.

The first twenty-two pages of the script is done. It's good. I know it's good. It was still hard to hit that send button... hard to officially begin the process of transforming my grand vision to a inevitably slightly-less-grand book.

The good news? My grand vision exists only in my head, and it's probably only grand to me. You can all read the book when it comes out. It'll be real, and pretty fucking good.

Anj