I had a freak out moment this week. The kind that derails everything when everything seems to be going so well. The first round of edits for my debut novel were going beautifully, I was prepping for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month: the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel), and I was furiously writing the first draft of the second book in my series.
I was on my way to fulfilling my dream of becoming an author.
On Halloween, the day before Nanowrimo starts, I had a flash concern about one of my subplots in the second book in my series. I didn't want to offend in a world that gets so offended, so I posted the question to my writing group. One person said to go for it, they'd help me make sure the storyline wouldn't be taken the wrong way. Another person advised that I not do it, that no matter how delicately or beautifully I might write this specific storyline, it was a very real possibility that I could make a lot of enemies when my career as a writer was still in its infancy.
I wanted to take the first person's advice so I could win it at Nanowrimo, (that was the next section to be written in the novel) but I didn't want to risk the possibility of ruining everything by doing it.
That same night, I received an email from my editor with "big picture" suggestions about my first book, the book I thought had been edited and perfected and polished wonderfully by both her and I. And now I could see the glaring flaws in the plot, certain characters, and other things that makes a novel good.
So for a moment I wallowed. On November 1st, I began to write the possibly offensive storyline in order to have high word-counts for that first day, but my heart wasn't in it as I told myself the storyline would probably be scrapped when I eventually found another one. And I fretted over how to fix my broken first book that had deadlines to be met.
For a moment I wondered if I should even keep writing. If I was even good enough. But it only lasted a moment, because writing makes me happier. It makes me a better mom and wife when I make the time to do it.
I had to keep going. As Dory would say, I had to just "keep swimming."
So I contacted my beta readers aka, mom, dad, one of my brothers, and my sister. All who had read an unedited version of my novel. We got together and hashed out all of the problems my editor had pointed out. And with their help, I figured out how to fix them. As I was getting ready to leave, I mentioned the possibly offensive subplot in the next book and that I couldn't think of a better one. In an instant they came up with an alternate idea. A story that I could write without the risk, but would still tell the whole story the way I wanted to. A storyline I could write proudly.
Now I've got my work cutout for me, word counts to catch up on, and more edits than I'd originally planned with deadlines that feel even sooner because of it. But it felt good the day after that meeting, to sit down and begin that new subplot knowing that other than the many edits it would require, the story of Isabelle on a ship wouldn't get cut.