The questionable 50,000 words

I posted last month about the semi-writing block that seems to occur at 20,000 words and I have reached a new dilemma now that I have written 50,000 words of my novel. I have now reached the point in my writing where I am questioning every word that I put down.

This is entirely my own fault, of course.  I couldn’t be bothered writing too much last night so I decided to read through the first chapter, just out of interest.  Just out of interest.  Who was I kidding?  I did the stupidest thing I could have done at this point in the story.  I should have just contented myself with reading a book.  But no, I had to read some of my own writing.

It has awakened my inner editor.  I was reading through the chapter and screwing my nose up at almost every sentence, my fingers itching to change the whole thing.  At least I wasn’t that stupid.  I managed to throw myself from the computer and have since occupied myself with things that have nothing to do with writing on yet another beautiful day in Melbourne.

Until an hour ago, when I decided it was time to knuckle down and pump out the words.  I managed 1500 words, but it was at a cost.  Every piece of dialogue I wrote, every description, every action, I was comparing to the first chapter.  I was trying for consistency when that shouldn’t even be entering in my mind at this point.  I should be just letting the story flow out of me, not double checking what the name of that town was that I mentioned 45,000 words back so I don’t accidently get it wrong.  God forbid that I have to read an incorrect town name in my first edit.

I’m also now questioning whether the story is really any good anyway, and why should anyone read this if it horrified me to read it.  Silly Kate, you should know that you think everything you write is awful.

The confidence has taken a shot as I step over the halfway mark and even though it’s all downhill from here, I think I may be wearing stilettos while doing it.  Tottering down, anxious not to fall and smash my face into the pavement.  Taking a few side steps to recover my footing and taking triple the time to get down that damn hill.  This is why men wear sneakers out on the town.

I’m now going to take a day to separate myself from what I read of the first chapter and hopefully I can steal some sneakers to get down the hill.

Moral of the story is this: Don’t reread your manuscript until you’re ready to edit.

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So you want to be an editor?

If you’re looking for practice in editing and critiquing people’s work do I have a good website for you! I discovered Critique Circle a few years, and not only did I get some great advice on my own writing, I polished up on my analytical skills and my editing skills. Even if you’re more interested in writing your own work, having a go and critiquing other people’s work helps develop your skills as a writer.

You can also have other people critique your work, which can be very useful if you struggle to find objective, unbiased opinions. Everyone is very constructive in their criticism. You’ll also get people critiquing your work who specialise in different areas. For instance, one may point out all the grammatical and spelling errors within your story, another may identify lack of themes and character development, while a third will help with sentence structure.

I highly recommend Critique Circle for readers, writers and editors alike. It certainly helped me and I plan to revisit it soon.  For now, though, my novel calls to me.  Have an excellent time zone, wherever you are!