It took me a long time to decide which book I was going to pick today. When it comes to Stephen King, it’s hard to say which of his stories are scarier. I suppose it depends on what your greatest fear is. Are you scared of rabid dogs? Cars that have minds of their own? Strange monsters that know what your biggest fear is? Or are you scared of becoming a famous writer and being kidnapped by your number one fan? Hehehe.
I’ve mentioned Misery before because I really worried I’d pull an Annie Wilkes and stalk my favorite authors at RWA Nationals. I didn’t, to my ever-lasting relief, but there was still that fear.
The hero of the book, Paul Sheldon, finishes his latest novel. It’s a crime novel, as opposed to the Victorian-era romance books he’s written. He gets into an accident and is rescued by Annie Wilkes…who’s his number one fan. And she is not happy about his latest endeavor.
Right, so without getting into the whole story, I have to say this is a scary ass book/movie. As a reader, I could kind of understand Annie’s er, passionate love for the romance series he wrote. I mean, I really get into my books and I used to have very set ideas of how a series should go. I’m not saying I’d find the author and break their ankles with a sledgehammer or anything, but this book made me wonder if I could ever be that passionalte about a celebrity. As a reader, this book was horrifying. You can’t help but think Annie is absolutely nuts.
Now that I’m pursuing a writing career, I see the sheer, unadulterated terror this book represents. Writers, no matter how famous, walk a very fine line with their audience. If you’re well-known for one genre and one genre only, taking a step in a new direction could be equated with jumping off a cliff. What if your fans hate it? What if they send you hate mail? What if you find your child’s pet bunny in a pot of boiling water? What if you find a horse’s head in your bed? Okay, so getting my movies and stuff mixed up, but you get the idea.
So what do you think? Do you fear stepping outside of your comfortable writing zone? Do you worry your fans will hate you for not rising to their expectations? Are you scared, yet strangely attracted, to the idea of becoming as famous as the hero of Misery? Did you cringe and squeeze your eyes shut when she breaks his feet?