In August of this year, I wrote a post about the novel I've been working on since approximately 2003. I was thrilled, because at that time I was nearing the end of another major rewrite.
I put the novel into the hands of my writer’s group and they confirmed what I had come to suspect. My beginning needed to be reworked.
I had received comments in the past about the beginning, things like... The voice seemed more middle grade than young adult. It seems that your story should start someplace else.
At first, I thought it was just one individual who didn't get my story. Who knows, maybe somewhere deep inside, for whatever reason, I was resisting the change. But when so many people had similar comments, I had to admit there were problems with my opening. It simply didn't work.
Which was why, as I posted earlier, I was in the process of another rewrite.
It turned out to be six new chapters. Well, not a new story really, as it was something I had already known and had already written. It was something that had happened in the past to my main character. It was pivotal to the story, yet instead of including the details of the back story into the opening, I had woven them throughout the story. Written that way, it wasn't riveting enough. It took too long to unfold, and it wasn't nearly as clear as it could have been.
Now, as I read the new beginning, I wonder why I hadn't made the change a lot earlier. Maybe I was too comfortable with the characters and the plot I had come to know. Maybe I was resistant to change. Whatever the case, it's a lesson I'll remember.
The characters and places we write about are a lot like life. If we sit back and let them do the same thing again and again, when that same thing isn't working, the characters and our story will end up going nowhere.
I'm a person who wants to go somewhere. I want my writing to go somewhere. I embrace change and all the uncertainties change brings and hope those changes will usher in a brighter future.
By the way, the comments thus far about the new beginning have been positive. I feel better, too. Hopefully, I'll feel confident enough with the new beginning that I'll soon begin to submit the manuscript. And when that time comes, you can cross your fingers along with me.