So far, so good this summer. I’m meeting my writing goals, my first published children’s story is nigh, and I’m managing to cook only a little less than usual despite not having cooking gas for the past six weeks. (That last one is more important than you know. No stove/oven means no baking. Cooking on a two burner hotplate is not for sissies. Especially when deprived of brownies.) But – you knew there was a but coming – I’ve hit a bump.
Nope, not writer’s block. That old saw about practice? Well, it’s right. Practice might not make perfect, but it DOES make performing – writing, cooking, yoga, triple flips off the high board – easier. I am definitely not blocked. Stumped occasionally, but then I just skip to a different scene in my novel, et voila! More words. My roadblock? Constructive criticism.
Recently, I received some excellent constructive criticism – which I asked for, mind you – from a writing buddy. When I began my novel, I switched the point of view between two main characters. It felt natural, and honestly, it kept those words flowing. After all, this is a FIRST DRAFT. Meaning I will be revising. And rewriting. The good advice? Stick to one POV, that of the main protagonist. I actually agree with this – for the most part. I’ve recently read novels that successfully switch points of view – the incredible Code Name Verity even does it two-thirds through the story – but I’m not sure I can pull this off. especially as I have to keep reminding myself a) to switch and b) to do it in a natural place.
Oh, yes, the dilemma! Sorry, I’m a little scattered these days. Not enough homemade brownies. And it’s amazing how hard it is to come up with dinner ideas that are healthy and can be made on a two-burner hotplate. (Yes, we’ve eaten plenty of salads and sandwiches the last several weeks.) But back to my dilemma:
Do I complete this draft, continuing to switch POV? Or do I simply switch horses mid-race and write the rest of the draft in a single POV? After all, I will be revising. Later. Once I finish this dratted draft. Which brings me to my final point:
When I finish this draft, I will have written a novel. Recently, my daughter made a comment about how she was looking forward to seeing my book on the shelf next to Percy Jackson, her latest fave. I told her that that might not happen – just because you write the book doesn’t mean it will be published. If it’s published, it likely won’t be a best-seller. (I aspire to be a midlist author, not JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins or even Rick Riordan. I would, however, give my recently repaired right arm to be Kate DiCamillo or Rebecca Stead.) When she was disappointed, I told her what all parents tell their kids, that it’s the doing that’s important, not the reward.
You know what? I realized that that was true. While I will work like the dickens to get this book published once it is finished, in the end, all that matters is that I will have achieved one of my dreams. I will have written a novel.