The last evil is hope

Pandora opened her box and let out all the evils that afflict mankind and the last thing left inside the box was hope.

Hope – a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen

Hope can be a cruel master and something all writers must struggle with. You hope your writing is good enough to be published, you hope it sells and is read when published, you hope it’s liked, you hope it gains the notice and praise of your peers, you hope it’s acclaimed, it wins awards, is a best-seller…

Hope springs eternal.

When I first started writing my measure of success was to be published. Now i’m published my measure is to do better with each subsequent book. Sell more, get more reviews, more notice.

It’s like when you were a child and they picked sides for a fottball (or netball) game. If, like me, you were a gawky kid you’d hope to be picked before the dregs. Pick me, oh please pick me. That’s the feeling of applying to appear at cons and festivals. And then if you’re picked and they ask you to bring along some books? Then you hope that you sell some, that you take back less than you came with.

Hope leads to anxiety and hope leads to envy. Twin evils all writers meet with at some point.  And all of it, all the dark thoughts, can only be banished by writing more. Although writing more does lead to more hope…

Heinleins five rules (with an additional one):

  • Rule One: You Must Write.
  • Rule Two: Finish What You Start.
  • Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order.
  • Rule Four: You Must Put Your Story on the Market.
  • Rule Five: You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold.
  • Rule Six: Start Working on Something Else.


Published by suttope

Pete W Sutton is a writer and editor. His two short story collections – A Tiding of Magpies and The Museum for Forgetting – were shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 & 2022 respectively. His novel – Seven Deadly Swords – was published by Grimbold Books. He has edited several short story anthologies and is the editor for the British Fantasy Society Horizons fiction magazine.

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