Humans, at our very core, are constantly seeking permission. Either in a loved one—like wanting a parent’s approval. Or in a best friend—wanting acceptance into a group. And as writers, seeking permission is critical.
As writers, we want our books to be accepted by publishers. We want that validation. Even in that we want to be told our ideas are valid. In reviews from readers, we want the validation our work is valid.
It goes as far back as drafting the book. We want validation from our friends and families that it’s okay to pursue this endeavor.
You also want permission to walk away when things just aren’t working out.
The latter was my issue with Glass Moon. I’ve been struggling with this book. I’ve mentioned before I’ve been rewriting the beginning, and I’m floundering around in the dark to get the book going. Chasing Sunrise had a fantastic opening and topping that has been a huge conundrum. It’s not that I don’t have the idea, it’s the execution where things get a little dicey. Jack and Sevon have had radical changes from Book I to Book II, to the point that they’re not the same. They’re not even sympathetic. I actually fell into my own pet peeve of characters changing so radically from one book to the next, not only do you not recognize them, there’s a strong possibility you might not even like them.
I told myself, if I just keep throwing ideas at it, it’ll all click, it’ll work itself out. I’m one of those people that when I have a problem, I work on it no matter how long it takes to solve it to the exclusion of all else. I can tell you stories about when I break things on this website and how many hours I spend trying to figure out where I went wrong. I’m possessed with the concept of fixing things. I will not walk away. I will not let it go. Even if I know it isn’t working and nothing I’m doing is making it work, I will hang on to the bitter end.
My Critique Group meeting tonight was the breath of fresh air I desperately needed. I’ve been plugging away at Glass Moon like it’s a spoiled child I have to carry around and placate daily. I knew I was off course. I knew it wasn’t getting better. Worst of all, I wasn’t excited about it anymore. I’ve got projects bubbling up in my head that I’m gunning to work on but I told myself: Just get over this hurdle first. It sucks right now, but you need to clear this hurdle.
My Crit Group had other ideas. And their ideas were the deep dark secrets I was hiding from myself. My Crit Group told me exactly what I knew. Glass Moon wasn’t working and no matter what I did, it wasn’t getting better. It was a problem I couldn’t solve. And I needed to walk away from it for a while.
In a word? I’m elated. I had put so much pressure on myself that it had to be done and it had to be now. But in putting the pressure on myself, I lost sight of my goals for Jack and Sevon, I lost sight of who they were as people. Also, quite possibly, I wasn’t telling the follow-up story in the best possible way. I was given permission to move on to something else for a while.
Glass Moon is imperfect, and unfinished, and, well, a really rotten child. And that’s okay. It can stay imperfect, and unfinished, and a really rotten child until the time comes that I can look at it again with a clear head and a clear vision of where I’m going.