I’m trying really hard to do another draft of a fantasy book I’ve been working on for years. I put it in the bottom drawer when my job became really hectic and have only recently taken it out and dusted it off. I decided to add another point of view into it, although I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do, and the book once again seems to be taking a life of its own. I feel the characters change as I write them and I worry that this will alter the careful summary that I’ve written up so I don’t get so lost in contradictions like last time.

But that’s a subject for another time. The thing that’s actually bothering me today is what my husband said to me last night when I read him the first section of the book. There was a period of silence after which he said that he wanted to know what happens next, but that he didn’t like the first sentence.When pushed, he said that he didn’t think he would act the way the main character did if he was in the same situation.

Now, most people would be thinking it must be a real dog of a novel after that response, because if family and friends aren’t effusive in their praise, then who will be? But my husband doesn’t lie. He can not lie. Not even to make me happy. So I was reasonably OK with what he said. I mean, for one thing, he doesn’t act like anyone does in any situation. I did agonise over whether I would change the first sentence, but ended up deciding that I didn’t really want to change it right now, or indeed much of that first section at all, because I know I’ll lose momentum. And that made me wonder about what I would do if he said that he really despised a plot point. Would I change the whole novel? Should I change the whole novel because of his opinion?

I’ve realised that this is one of my biggest problems. I’m a compromiser. I always have been. I can always see things someone else’s way. If they say, ‘I don’t like this’, it makes me think I could change that, instead of thinking ‘Well, that’s OK, but I actually like it better like this’. This means that I might change it ten million ways if I received ten million different opinions. I guess that shows I need to grow a spine and could even suggest I’ll never be any good as an author, but despite that, I’m not going to stop trying. I just need to try and decide what criticism needs to be adopted and what can be vetoed.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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