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.


11 thoughts on “Run Head-First Into The Wall, Or Run Away?

  1. That’s so frustrating! I’d try to get a second opinion on your version 2 characters. Maybe from a reader who hasn’t already been influenced by your version 1 characters. Then they might love the second version as much as your writing group loves the first version. Then show them the version 1 ones and see which one they like better.

    Of course, if they say they still love version 1 better even though it’s the second version they saw, you might be better off going back to version 1.

    Good luck! I hope you can work it out!

    • Thanks for the comment!

      You should’ve seen it. It was like the villagers with the pitchforks, but in a nice way ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m tempted to at least write chapter 2 to see if they come around to what I’m trying to do. I do see a point where both versions merge, but I have to get them there first.

  2. Been there and done that. It stinks! I find that it helps me if I just furiously keep writing, even if I don’t think it makes sense. I try not to edit or go back to anything until after I’ve completed the entire project. Otherwise, my second guessing gets even worse. Also, like was said by the other commenter- a second opinion could never hurt.
    Good luck!

    • Furiously keep writing is the way to go for sure, but also very difficult to get myself to do. I definitely don’t go back to edit, because then I end up in the never-ending loop.

      Thanks for the advice!

  3. Go with your gut, I say.

    Your critique group is biased toward the first version because it’s familiar and more complete. If the second version excites you–and if you have a clearer idea of where it’s going–it doesn’t matter what they say. Your decision’s already made.

    It’s YOUR book. Their passion will not keep you writing. Yours will.

  4. I know exactly how that feels! It’s frustrating sometimes working on a novel, but I bet it will be worth it ๐Ÿ™‚ One thing that has been helping me is to write one whole draft of the novel and let the plot sort of drift–even if it isn’t what I quite want it seems to help when I go back a week or two later, because I might find that I have made some new discovery about my characters! Anyway…I think you are on the right track!

  5. The reminds me of a scenario in which you brought home the girlfriend too early in the relationship and now the parents love her so much you don’t know how to break up with her. You just have to convince them that since you can’t see yourself in a marriage with version 1, it’s unfair to continue the relationship. But you may have to give them time to heal before bringing home another version so soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

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