So, I hear that there is a natural point when writing a novel (or two or three points) where you think it’s a load of rubbish and you think of a newer, shinier idea and you shouldn’t be wasting your time with this one, blah de blah de blah. I hear that you’re supposed to push through this stage and come out the other side feeling motivated to press on and finish, having fought your particular dragon and emerged victorious. I have one question.
Yes, I’m at that point. It’s not that I can’t see where the story’s going or that the characters aren’t behaving or that I’m struggling to get a first draft down. That’s fine – family circumstances have made it more difficult lately to get solid writing time but I’m fine once I do get a chance. The story’s all planned out and so far working out well, and I’m actually very fond of my characters. The problem is, that I see and read books by both classic and modern writers that are absolutely fantastic and I’m just pretty sure that I don’t measure up.
My story, which until recently I was pretty happy with, doesn’t have any major themes or deal with pressing social issues or discuss matters of life, death, faith or the universe. It’s not a bone-chilling thriller or a powerful insight into, well, anything. It is, I like to think, an entertaining story with likeable characters. Is that enough?
The other side of all this is, does this matter? It’s my first novel. I know perfectly well that the statistics are against this getting published, and that it’s a big step on my development as a writer – if i don’t ever have a first novel I will never get better and I will never, ever have a published novel. It will be an achievement in itself to get it finished, and I have every intention of asking people to read it for me and getting feedback, both paid and from friends.
So here’s my meaningless and random poll. Do I…
a) give up and take up knitting
b) persevere, seeing it as nothing more than a learning curve and an exercise
c) persevere because it could actually go somewhere
d) ignore this poll, ignore my doubts and make the very best job of this that I can?
I guess I’ve answered my own question there, but I’d still be interested to hear what people think.