Run Head-First Into The Wall, Or Run Away?

I’ve been working on this novel for over a year. I have nine chapters written. I have no idea what comes next, or to be honest what the point of the whole thing is. This is a very big problem. One I thought I’d be able to fix by stepping back and starting over, using some of the stuff from what I’d already written.

And this is what I did. I wrote what I thought was a pretty good chapter one. Actually, it felt really good, to be honest. I pictured myself at my critique group on Monday, lavished in praise about how good my story was. My confidence swelled. I knew they were going to love the new direction things were taking.

About those nine chapters. My in-person writing critique group has been reading those nine chapters, and always been positive about them. I guess I wasn’t aware how MUCH they’ve been enjoying the book thus far, though. I certainly know now.

It was not quite as good as I imagined. I guess they really, REALLY liked what I had already written. And this new version was not that. I had killed those characters they had grew to love so well. I assured them they weren’t dead, just in a file marked “Version 1”. This didn’t help.

In a way, this is a good thing. I want my readers to love what I have written. I want them to be passionate. They are passionate. Passionate about a story I have no idea how to save.

And so now, I have the choice: run head-first into the brick wall of the plot, or run away screaming in the opposite direction.