My husband gave me a quizzical look when I said I spent several hours today working on the ‘wrong novel.’ How can working on one of my novels be wrong?
An online friend on critique circle finished ‘Too Close for Comfort’ and really liked the second half, but had a hard time connecting with the character in the first half. I asked her what would improve it, and tossed out a couple of suggestions that I had from a previous reader such as making things worse for the main character. She thought things didn’t need to be worse, but she hadn’t liked the character until about half way through.
As a side note, because we’re all authors, people on critique circle will read something that we wouldn’t tolerate in a published novel. We get enjoyment out of helping make books better and realize that means that we sometimes read things that are, well, boring, or don’t resonate, but if we can help the author makes it better, it’s worth while. We learn a lot in doing this as well.
I had what I think is a pretty good idea about how to make the character more likeable, which involved revealing more of her back-story that I knew, but hadn’t provided in the book. And I could even do it in a scene in real-time, without needing a flashback. Cool. Fun to work on. The problem is I have two other novels that I intend to publish before this one. ‘The Shortest Route’ still needs half a scene for chapter one, and ‘French Impressions’ is the one I’m currently trying to revise 2-3 chapters a day. So, I told myself I can do a little work, but kept referring to it as the ‘wrong’ novel, so I don’t get caught up in revising it. I know me, I wouldn’t let up on my goals for the other two and there are only so many hours in a day.
Now, if I can just add one more scene to the ‘wrong’ novel, maybe I can get back to working on the right ones.