I DID IT. I outlined, wrote, and edited a whole freaking novella! It’s just shy of 20,000 words and excuse me while I bask, really bask, in the glow of completing something that large from shoddy baby draft all the way to a polished final.
And do you know what? It absolutely could not have come together in the way it did without some amazing beta readers. A handful of people read and re-read my drafts, and each one found something different about the story to critique or question. Right now I want to just hug all of them and bake each one a cake.
One thing that struck me the most in the feedback that I received for Big Trouble at the Clambake is that my main character was not emotional enough about the loss of someone important to her. And re-reading my manuscript, I found it to be absolutely true: Marrow just does not seem to care a whole lot about a death in her family.
As I sat down to revise the story, I wondered why I couldn’t convey the emotions she was definitely supposed to feel in those moments. It’s not easy to admit, but I think a large portion of it comes from an internal block where it’s just not easy for me to admit big, personal emotions. I had to sit for a long time with the character and figure out how she would process these things. Slipping into her skin a little more helped (I hope!) create a more authentic reaction to the news of her brother’s death and her pursuit of the truth.
And in the process, I learned something about my own unseen hang-ups that I can keep an eye on while writing future projects.
Anyway, if you’re out there writing right now: Keep at it. You can finish this fucking thing, whatever it is. And be sure to thank your beta readers! They make us better at what we do.