I’ve begun writing the second draft of my novel and I am plagued with doubts and indecision.
Most of the time it feels like there’s a gremlin sitting on my shoulder critiquing everything I write.
The main reason why I find this story particularly difficult, is because I haven’t figured out the right tone of voice.
Shall I make it sound realistic, with a touch of magical realism, or should I go all out and make it fantasy?
Who am I writing it for? Children? teens? or adults?
Thinking like this gets me nowhere and I end up going round and round in circles for hours with nothing to show.
I think the reason why I’m so critical of my writing is because I’m afraid to address the root of the issue: What if nobody likes my story? What if nobody reads it?
And so I try to write to please an imaginary audience.
Obviously, it’s not working.
Going back to the humble origins of the story
This story began as an ending. I wrote the last few paragraphs first, spontaneously while in bed, and forgot about it for a few months.
It wasn’t until lockdown that I took it out and reread it. What struck me about it, was its simplicity; a few paragraphs that said a lot. That was the tone I wanted to capture.
Now that I think about it, what I didn’t like about the first draft was how dramatic it had become; overly exaggerated storylines, unnecessary characters, like I was trying too hard. It lost its tone of simplicity and didn’t have the same sparkling effect it first had.
So I think I will work backwards. Start from the point of certainty, and branch out from there.