Monday, March 29, 2010

WIPs and Chains

I finished! Power Struggle is done! Once again I’m amazed that I actually completed another book. I’m not sure how many I’ve written, but it’s got to be up near 20 (novels and novellas) and every time, every single time, I have doubts about my ability to do it.

The characters in this story did a few things that surprised me. I had actually thought there was going to be a threesome between hero, heroine and her “play partner” but apparently they didn’t want to do that. Also, heroine blurted out that she’s in love with hero earlier than I expected and in a very unromantic place. She just couldn’t hold it back, I guess.

I’m actually happy with this one. There is usually a point in the writing at which I believe the story is utter crap, which nobody would ever want to read. I don’t think that happened this time. Is this good? Or bad? With usual writerly insecurity, I have to wonder if it’s bad that I don’t hate my own writing, because if I love it - what does that mean?

I was pondering this when Nathan Bransford did a blog post about this very topic and referenced the Dunning-Kruger effect. Wikipedia: “The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than in actuality; by contrast the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to a perverse result where less competent people will rate their own ability higher than more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence because competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."

Usually, I'm in that category where I'm completely thinking I'm inferior, but this time I'm thinking my work is okay. Therefore, if I think what I wrote is good, it’s actually because I’m too incompetent to realize it’s not good.

Writers are apparently basket cases of doubts and insecurities.

I usually set aside a manuscript for about a month (or longer) to “simmer” and “let the flavors blend” once I’ve finished. But dammit, I want to send this out somewhere! I have apparently totally lost my mind on this one. Dunning-Kruger effect, indeed.
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