I had a million other things I wanted to talk about today, or this week, even, but work has completely overwhelmed me. I’m barely keeping my head above water between the Exchange Migration and the ISO 20K draft work I’m doing. Throw in a kid with strep and a time change and we’ve got quite the party happening.
I’m still writing – not always getting that 1000 done. Most of the time I still do, but there have been a few nights where I’ve let it go, just too mentally exhausted to even look at another computer screen. When I’m rereading the same sentence five or six times, I know it’s time to crash.
So, in the meantime I decided to try editing up my first chapter again – it’s been awhile and I’m still writing the story (up to Chapter 17 now…maybe ten left? hard to say…) and sent it out to a few people for a look see. It’s been a rather horrible history as far as first chapters go. I’ve rewritten the thing more times than I care to count. I’m actually rather happy with it, at the moment – it could still use more polishing, but overall I like the way it runs. But still…there’s always a part of me that wants to please everyone, and I just can’t. No matter how many times I initially tried to restructure it, it just wasn’t enough. Even last night – it was the same:
One person said – love the first three paragraphs, cut out the next two pages and start it where the hero enters the store. Another person said – hey, cut out the first three paragraphs and leave the rest where it is. It’s the same as before. I’m either giving out too much info, or not enough info, or there’s too much happening, or not enough happening, or too much back story, or not enough back story. Truly, the number of conflicting opinions is enough to make my head spin. Now on the other hand, no one says the writing sucks. So, that’s good, I suppose, but it would be easier if the opinions were a bit more consistent. But they are not, so I don’t know where that leaves me.
It’s hard. I’ve been told that the fact I’m writing in 1st PoV is not necessarily a good thing. Publishers don’t like it. Readers don’t like it. Although LKH, Charlaine Harris, Jacquiline Carey and Diana Gabaldon have all seemed to have bucked *that* particular trend. So maybe it’s just that a lot of 1st PoV stories are lousy. I honestly don’t know. I’ve read just as many pieces in third that have been pretty crappy. On the other hand, I’ve also had people in some critique groups refuse to look at it, simply because it was in 1st.
It could also be an issue of genre. Quite possibly, I’m just never going to be a “romance” writer. I suppose I’ll have to admit that I probably don’t read many books that are strictly labeled “romance.” I’m used to longer build ups and I accept them when I read them, simply because it’s what I expect. It seems that most of the romance genre books don’t do that. Everything has to slam into action in those first two pages or the rest of it just falls by the wayside. In some ways I feel like I’ve been trying to force myself into that mold and it hasn’t been working. Even when I tried to rewrite so the action *did* start on that first page, I got told too much was happening too quickly. So really…I cannot win.
Of course, what’s somewhat amusing is that the people who shout the loudest about some of this stuff *aren’t* pubbed. That’s not to say their opinions aren’t valid – I’ve been reading quite a few unpubbed manuscripts and some of them are fabulous. Others…aren’t. That doesn’t make their opinions less valid, just maybe less likely to be listened to.
Clearly it’s a lack of confidence on my part and I wish I could just do my own thing without caring, but for me it’s such a fine line. I want critiques because I want opinions on the writing – where could it be tightened up, what doesn’t make sense, what needs a little more (or less explanation), but often what I seem to get is how the other person would write it. And then I start feeling like crap, because they obviously don’t like it.
Hmmmph. I’d really rather not get back into this cycle, so I may just cut my losses here and keep going. Get some opinions and use what I like and then get the hell out.