A few weeks ago, I drew back the curtains on my latest work-in-progress (and next self-published ebook).
Rainbird is a science fantasy novella that grew out of a short story I wrote last year. My protagonist, Rainbird, is both strong and vulnerable, generous and impulsive, determinedly cheerful in trying circumstances but, like everyone else, has her blind spots. The setting is the sunway, a gigantic track made from the bone of an immense dragon upon which this world’s artificial sun moves. Betrayal and love, atonement and duty are some of the themes of the story.
I have a cover for this book. I’ve had it beta-read, and two more people have said “yes” to reading it for one last spit-and-polish. I’m less than ten pages away from finishing version 4 of the story.
And I’m afraid to release it.
I didn’t recognize the fear, at first. I was going great guns on my latest pass through Rainbird when I just–stopped. And I haven’t touched it for almost a week.
I told myself that it was because we got sick (true). I told myself it was because we were busy (also true). I told myself I needed to work on another project whose deadline is coming up very soon (that too).
But those reasons merely disguised the real one: fear.
Fear that it will disappoint my readers. Fear that it will be savaged by reviewers. Fear that it will sink my fledgling career. Fear that it’s not perfect. I feel that if I only hold on to it a bit longer, it will magically become so.
Times like this I need to go read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s wonderful post on perfection. I cried–or at least got teary-eyed–when I first read it. There is no such thing as a perfect story. There is no such thing as story that everyone, everywhere will love. There are just good stories that find their own fans.
As for Rainbird? I love this story. Some–not all–of my beta readers love this story. I know that I’ve done my best with it, and there is no way to make it better without tearing out its heart and turning it into something altogether different.
It’s time to kick the twin demons of Fear and Perfectionism to the curb. It’s time to get on with my copyedit so Rainbird can go seek its audience. It’s time to stop clinging and let go.
So, what’s going on with Rainbird?
It’s coming out this fall. Soon. Watch this space for the release date.
Rainbird never belonged. To one race, she’s chattel. To the other, she’s an abomination that should never have existed.
She lives on the sunway.
High above the ground, Rainbird is safe, as long as she does her job, keeps her head down, and never ever draws attention to herself.
But one act of sabotage is about to change everything.
For Rainbird. And for her world.