So, it happens.
You spend two years working on a novel, and you hit a point where arcs don’t connect. You feel nothing – but contempt – for your characters. And, every possible edit you can dream of won’t work, because the time and the place and all the little clever elements (or so you thought) will only come together one way…or not at all.
What do you do? Admit failure? Put it on a shelf?
I wonder at my own ego, and the belief I can produce anything meaningful, anything of value. Who do I think I am?
If I were honest with myself, maybe I could write. But it’s hard cursing some poor fictional character with all your garbage. It’s hard letting all the ugliness come to the surface so you can turn it into ink.
It’s hard looking at myself now, almost fifty, with how little I’ve accomplished. The one success I can claim isn’t truly my own; the strength of my nearing-20-years marriage has far more to do with my husband’s grace and forbearance than anything I’ve ever contributed. Let’s face it: I may not be drinking, but he’s still married to an alcoholic.
It’s hard looking back on my own childhood – the fuel for my novel – because what I see now isn’t what I saw when I started. I see a girl who wasn’t just socially awkward, but book-smart and empathy-poor, and who talked down to everyone (whether she intended to or not). She earned all the bullying she got. Granted, no one taught her ‘the rules,’ but I don’t feel sympathy for her anymore, only anger.
And so, I’m stuck. Like me, my main character’s arc is a half-baked mess. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix my novel, or if I should.