March 23, 2011

writing fears

So last night, I spent a good few hours looking at steampunk art and dress. I made a few bids on some neat items on eBay, and began mentally constructing my ideal steampunk costume, the one I would wear to cons and just for sillies. I helped make a friend's costume last year and ever since, I've wanted to make one of my own. Well, as I'm contemplating this endeavor and its associated costs, I think, man, I would love to write a steampunk novel.

"SteamPunk Octopus"

My heart races. My insides churn. My skin prickles with fear and dread, and I break out in a sweat.

I'm not even kidding.

The thought of writing a steampunk novel scares the bajeezus out of me.

And I have no idea why.

It may deal with the tendency for steampunk to have a large scope, which is why I am also terrified of writing space operas, dystopians, and science-fiction in general. I'm not sure why. I love everything steampunk. I love science fiction, especially space operas, and I like dystopians if they're driven by science and technology rather than a plague. Yet, I refuse to write them. I am scared of writing them. I am not sure if I fear discovering the magic behind the stories and no longer enjoying them, or if I don't think I can successfully write such a story.

I write fantasy now, and I have experienced that loss of magic with other stories. When I see a fantasy film or read a fantasy novel, I pick it apart piece by piece until it is a conglomeration of craft notes. Whereas, when I watch a science-fiction film or read a novel, I immerse myself in the world. I'm fascinated by the characters and the technology, and I don't try to pick it apart. Will I lose that if I write science-fiction? Can I train myself to stop breaking down fantasy stories?

So those are my writing fears. I am afraid to write steampunk. I am afraid to write a space opera. (I am not so afraid to write a dystopian, as I would rather not write one -- they're so depressing.)

What genres are you afraid of? Which genres do you love but would never dream of writing?

Any tips on getting over these fears?


  1. I love historical fiction, but I'm too lazy to do all the research. I have to admit, steampunk leave me feeling "weary" for some reason. All that metal...

  2. I know how you feel Brooke! I am terrified of writing fantasy, probably because I am scared that I won't be able to deliver what I imagine so vividly. On the other hand, I love writing science fiction because I feel like I can steep what I write in what I've read about, things I am opinionated about, etc.

    Perhaps we can both try out something small. Maybe write one scene in the genre that we fear, leave it alone for a few days, go back to it and write another scene after that, with no corrections to the first one (yet).

  3. I'd be scared to write steampunk too. Sci-fi as well. I guess I don't have enough confidence in my writing abilities to build a realistic world.

  4. I've only ever written historical fiction--I felt really safe in the research and the style. But now I'm branching into something, as Monty Python would say, completely different--it scared me because my identity was "Historical Fiction writer" and it's scary to question that. But so, so rewarding!

  5. How about a short story? Less than a 1000 words?
    Right now I am dealing with a blog blockage. Can't seem to get info from my brain to blog without the dry heaves. Are we afraid of success or failure? My genre is ya paranormal, will I eventually pick apart any paranormal book I read? Lord, I hope not..... :D

  6. @Darby I love historical, too, especially Jane Austen-esque romance. I tried writing it once and just failed miserable. I pretty much wrote a parody without even trying.

    @BookGeek it's funny that your safe genre is my opposite. i think all the technobabble in science fiction is what really scares me. i once wrote a science fiction short story, and someone informed me it was a terminator rip-off (even though i had never seen terminator at the time), and several others negatively criticized it. i think that may have scared me away from the genre.

    @Patricia, i think you're spot on about the world-building. for some reason, it seems easier to build a fantasy world from scratch. with sci-fi, you have to build off of things that actually exist, and if you get it wrong, you'll be lynched by lovers of the genre.

    @Rowenna, i hope that my venture into steampunk will be as rewarding as your experience! maybe that's part of why i'm afraid of it too - i've identified myself as a fantasy writer. tho lately, i wonder if that's just my safe zone, where i feel like i can't do wrong, but i won't stand out either. i have to leave my comfort zone if i'm to do anything spectacular

    @Shellie, i think it may be a fear of both. success demands we keep producing quality material. failure ridicules our very being. i think writing a short story might help. as i said to BookGeek, i once wrote a sci-fi short story, and it was thrown down the garbage disposal. i think that confirmed my fears of the genre. but, even though i am deathly afraid of steampunk, i have a burning desire to write it. if nothing else, i can write for myself to see how i like it and not show it to anyone else.