Monday, May 2, 2011

Get Behind Behind Me, Nemesis.

That’s right, I said nemesis. But can someone be your nemesis if they barely know you exist? Probably not. Nemesis is too strong a word. But it is how I’m justifying my next course of action, which is turning a negative into a positive.

Let’s start with a brief examination on the definition of the word.
nem·e·sis [nem-uh-sis] 

1. An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. —Yes, but she doesn’t even see me as competition, and barely knows I exist, making me a slight head case.
2. Classical Mythology . The goddess of divine retribution. —Strange, the goddess nemesis is in my sequel to FATAL THREADS, but not applicable in this instance.
3. An agent or act of retribution or punishment. —Again, yes, but she doesn’t know it.

Origin: Latin  < Greek némesis  literally, a dealing out, verbid of némein  to dispense (justice)

Negative: Somehow, in my twisted way of thinking, another young adult author has become my momentary nemesis. This prolific, New York Times best-selling author recently released a story about reapers. Grim Reapers. That's cool if you like reapers, which I do. And even cooler if you love her books, which I do. But here’s where the nemesis part comes in. I’m currently outlining a novel about a family of reapers. When I saw her story, my brain screamed, “What? How can this be happening? She has the publishing machine behind her, and how am I, an unpublished author, going to compete with that?”

Positive: The truth is I’m not. I’m avoiding reading her work, even though I pass it daily and stare with longing, because I don’t want it to influence the way I construct my own story. Her success tells me something very important. There is an audience for stories about reapers. But only I can write my reaper story. Good thing, because what I’m going to do…how I’m going to beat the nay saying in my head…is to write the best darn book about reapers I can and hope it sits on a shelf next hers. What an honor that would be.

disclaimer: my nemesis is a talented author and, having met her at book signings, a nice person to boot. She just happened to be the right author, doing the right thing, at the right time, giving me a little kick in the pants I call motivation.


  1. There are lots of books out there about Angels, Vamps etc. They have the same type of characters but are all different. I'm not sure which reaper book you're talking about. I can think of two. Of course that doesn't matter. Yours will different. Hers may be amazing but that doesn't mean yours won't be fantastic. I know I'll read it. :)

  2. Thanks Lani! I might take you up on that and send you some early pages. ; )

  3. This is so tough, and part of why "reading widely in your genre" and blogging, and tweeting, etc. can sometimes overtake everything. You are right--hunker down and write the best damn reaper story out there. One day, you'll have all the publishing cred. Sarah xx

  4. Thanks Sarah! And thank you for following my blog. I hope you're right (about the pub cred). I really hope my book touches someone in a way that helps them relate to their own lives, or offers them the escapism they need. When my early readers tell me they can't put it down after they've only read 50 pages...I feel like I've already won in some small way. : )