Busy and Stumped

I haven’t been updating my writing blog lately for a couple of reasons:

1) I don’t have Internet and life is crazy busy at the moment
2) I’m feeling stumped

As I have mentioned before, writing Book 1 is like pulling teeth. I had a draft I knew was as good as I could get it by myself. I was about to begin submission when, praise God!, I had the opportunity to join an online critique group of fellow YA fantasy writers. Let me say, feedback is hard.

A couple of my critique partners were generally encouraging and on board with the story, but even they didn’t always understand what I was trying to do. On the whole, my critique partners didn’t understand my MC. One in particular took an immediate dislike to him, and he could never do anything right. Even the ones who liked him thought he came off as lazy and stupid. I was devastated. That’s actually the reaction other characters had to my MC. They thought he was lazy and stupid in spite of how hard he was working.

I realized I had a big dilemma on my hands. How to convey how intelligent and hard-working my MC is when he struggles in school (especially with book learning), takes longer to learn things than others do, and easily loses his sense of time (resulting in being late a lot). These are real challenges that real (intelligent, hard-working) people face.

Something that was easier to deal with was the realization that a subplot forming part of both my main characters’ motivations was unnecessary. That cleared up a lot of things.

I still have trouble concisely stating my MC’s motivation. It’s a bit abstract. It’s very realistic, but as we know, realistic doesn’t always make good fiction. I had another realization that might help. I had always said that my MC was trying desperately to prove his worth to his commanding officer and to his family, but that’s not really true, is it? He’s trying to prove his worth to himself. Ah, now that is more compelling.

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