During the San Diego launch of the second book in my Grievance Collectors Series, Dead Day, I met a young author, Ms. Ilse Uribe. Ilse is a high school student and talented aspiring author who is writing a novel for her senior project. Stay tuned because Ilse will be a well-known writer one day! In subsequent correspondence, Ilse asked me a fascinating question: As a writer, what is your Kryptonite?
You probably remember that Kryptonite is a fictitious substance causing Superman to be weak. It is his Achilles heel, something that can reduce his ability to perform.
As a writer, my Kryptonite is balancing the chaos in my creative mind with the need to tell a coherent story.
I can see so many possibilities and love thinking about “what if? —What if my character makes this decision or interacts with this person or…” My fascination with complicated lives and the desire to tell stories that have many layers can get unruly and spin out of control while I am writing the first drafts of my novels. I tend to have multiple sub-plots and my readers like the many twists and turns in my stories but there is a limit to how much chaos a reader can tolerate before they get confused and frustrated.
The good news is my stories do have twists and turns that create suspense and mystery. The bad news is that I sometimes have to re-think and re-write the sequence of scenes multiple times. The challenge is to get the right mix of suspense that keeps readers guessing, with enough linearity to enable the reader to keep all of the sub-plots organized until I tie up the loose ends.
The battle between clarity and creativity is my Achilles heel. Although it can frustrate me, this duality creates a fire that keeps me writing.
What is your writer’s Kryptonite?