Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Comparison Trap

*sigh* I finally read The Hunger Games yesterday. Yep, the whole book in one day. This is not a review of the book since I'm probably one of the last hold outs in the writing community to read it. I loved it, but now this is my mood...
Why you might ask? Because I immediately compared my writing to Suzanne Collins. Not that I write like her, but that I don't.

There are some beautiful moments of humanity in her book. The moment in the square when no one claps, but they salute Katniss in their own way. Beautiful. The last moments with Rue. I read that sitting in the car pool line and I was wiping tears the whole time. And the others. You know what they are, if not, go read the book.

I don't have any tearful moments in my book. At least not this first one, but don't worry, tears are planned.

Here's the thing. We read to see what pulls us in--what other writers do that works. We learn from it and then hopefully incorporate it into our writing style. I can never write the same as Suzanne. I don't even want to try and be her twin.
I don't think she'd appreciate it, and well, I'm me. But, I've been wallowing in the "I need to start all over on my book." It's out with some agents and suddenly I feel so detached from my work that I'm ready to trash it and try again. Why are we so emotionally fragile as writers?

The truth? The theme of the Hunger Games is different from Sendek. The emotions I play to are different. I am happy with my writing. But, I know I can still make it better. The comparison trap has me wondering if I started querying too soon.

Yeah, 6 years of simmering in my head, 1 month drafting, 2 years revising and editing and I'm still scared it's too soon. It stinks. I also know that I had reached a critical point in my writing career. Take a chance or quit.

So after hours of round and round with my split personalities. I'm still glad I took the plunge. And maybe this will help make the next book all that much deeper and richer with the human plight.
An apple is still an apple after all. Even when they are different.