For the past few days, I’ve been paralyzed on my novel. I keep trying to finish my chapter and move onto the next one in anticipation of finishing this act and moving on to the final act of my novel, destined to be finished during NaNoWriMo. Despite this effort, I’m making no headway. I’m allowing myself to be blocked. Why? Doubt. I’m doubting my premise and my narrative. I look at my novel and realize that it is beyond the point of bloated. I’m trying to tell too much and its creating an epic story that no one will want to publish and no one will want to read.
Luckily, I’ve already reached the conclusion that the book I’m currently writing will need some serious pruning before it even sees an editor. What little reviews I’ve received during my recent seminars have all said essentially the same things: what makes this unique? how is it different than other novels like it? Now this might be simply because I’m a very green writer and I’m not skilled enough at query letters and pitches to truly encapsulate the merit of my novel, but it has caused me to look back at what I’ve written. And worry.
I’ve known for some time having two parallel storylines, each trying to tell a lot of information and push the story forward is a tall order for someone so fresh to writing professionally (or as a hobbyist, as it feels some time). But I have so much I want to say and I’m too close to my work to gain the perspective I need. So, what to do? I need to do something because I’m doing absolutely nothing constructive at the moment, beyond writing tortured blog posts.
The thought I’ve been mulling over -the one that seems wholly counter-productive- is to simply continue writing. Even if I think I’m going to be butchering the hell out of it, just write the entire thing, exactly as I had planned. Won’t I just be writing something that I’ll ultimately be erasing? Perhaps, but I will be able to get this out in the open, unburdened by some internal editor and then have a fresh perspective to return and rewrite it.
At this point, I think that finishing it is the most important goal right now. This has been a learning experience and I’ve discovered some amazing and distressing things about my first novel. I suppose that is true of any first-time writer working on their first (and most labored) manuscript. I can’t say it will even be published. No, I know it will never be published, at least in the form it is in now. It will take a lot more love and even more honesty on my part to truly hew something wonderful from the Frankenstein I am creating.