I met with my writing group last night. After I finished my last book (which I still kind of hate to this day and am thinking of doing a complete revamp) I started a new one from several ideas that have been spinning around in my brain for YEARS. I kid you not, one of the ideas is from 2007. Note to writers – save everything you write, even if it’s just a writing exercise. In fact, the beginning of my new story was an exercise from about 3 years ago, to work on description because I was terrible at it.
For this story I decided to go with first person POV for a few reasons. 1) It’s a YA novel and that’s all the craze now (that’s = YA in 1st person), 2)the writing exercise came out in 1st person, and C) I’ve never written a story in 1st person so this is me developing my technique.
I’ve submitted three chapters so far and my group has really liked them. I used to think I would want to go to writing group and hear little I could improve on…I mean, who wouldn’t? But I’ve had three months with, “This is great,” “some of your best stuff,” “you’re killing it.” Each time I get praise I realize that soon will come to an end and it will probably be the next month. In a way, this is good, it keeps me from slacking off with my writing but I live in a constant state of fear that this story is going to end up going nowhere. Or that we’re going to get to a chapter where my group pulls a face and says, “what happened? It had some great potential.” Kind of like I’ve found myself with several YA novels in the past.
I have maybe three more chapters planned out and the ending but beyond that – the stuff between chapter 6 and the 70,000 words I need I worry I won’t be able to figure it out, keep the action going or have a point. A lot of this fear actually comes from my last story, which started out strong and then by the end I didn’t know how it had gotten there, I hated my main character and wanted to just kill everyone off.
Again – maybe this pressure is the best thing for me because it will force me to try and figure it out, to not settle for less than my best writing, and hopefully make for a great story with the potential to snag an agent.