This week I found myself sitting at a familiar desk at the library, tucked away behind the arts and crafts stacks. My task, was not to write, but to read.
Yep, I have printed out all 84,000 words of draft 1 of the WIP. Strange to think that all this time, that I have stressed about the opening chapter and structure I hadn’t really read the whole draft through. And do you know what I discovered as I read through? I like what I wrote! Well, with the exception of that horrid first chapter that has been pulled apart and rejigged ad nauseum. I like my protagonist, Tad is fun and quirky and endearing. And he is on his way to going on an epic adventure.
The more I read, the more I came to this conclusion: what the heck was going through my mind last fall when I let the ranting pedantic professor mess with my head?!
Sure, there are things that need fixing and polishing. Story lines that need to be fleshed out better and given depth. But there is something there, bones that I can work with, that are the way I want them – regardless of what anyone else says. And the more I read the more I am am left feeling like a silly goose for paying so much attention to shoulda-couldas that were lobbed at me in October. The thing about story writing is that as the writer it is you vision, your voice. To try to satisfy the someone else’s vision turns the work into dull, uninspired dribble (and yes, that is what my first chapter reads like at the moment after all that fiddling).
So for now, I am going to satisfy nobody but myself. And write the story as I see it in my head. I am sure down the road when I polish it more and ask someone for critique again I will once more turn into a mass of anxiety and self-doubt. But for the time being there is no way my WIP will turn into a completed work unless I shut out other people’s opinions.