I made my 2000 word goal today! I'm so very, very excited. Meeting goals is always nice, even if they're small, daily goals that rival Ted Dekker but not Erin Healy. So we're up to 7410 total words, as of now, and have begun the third chapter.
I'm a little worried about my first three chapters, actually. I think - imho - that they're readable and intriguing and that there is tension and conflict. But isn't that what the agents ask for if they want to see more? Yes, my preface is good and bam!-first-person-present-tense-someone-just-died-what's-going-on and I'm very happy with it, but what about the chapters? They take place when Ivolet is a kid, and so is Daniel. It's really difficult to make it intriguing, because it's a lot of character development/introduction and story development/introduction.
I should feel successful. I've chopped what was 26,000 words of introduction/backstory to what will probably be about 10,000. And I have to say that condensing all of that was probably the best thing I ever did. Where dialogue used to mainly be used for character development, it now presents the story, the conflict. I've sweated over these chapters. (The third chapter, begun, has very few changes from earlier drafts and hopefully I won't have to do much adjusting there. I know exactly what's in it.)
But I can't help but wonder: What if an agent reads those first three chapters and thinks that my YA novel is actually about 8-year-old kids? What if they think Daniel is too impetuous? What if they think Ivolet is too demure? I really don't want to write a flashback book, and I don't think it's needed. But what if, what if, what if...
So much is riding on that preface. Maybe I'll facebook it and see what my friends say. I know, I know, a friend's critique isn't true critique. But I need so much to get a feel besides my own. I like it. But what if it's not that great? What if my assumption that first-person-present-tense is easy...is wrong? Maybe I just think it's easy because I do an awful job.
Most of the time I try to keep the what-if's out of my head. They don't do me any good; I know that. (But they did convince me to cut 26,000 to 10,000, with excellent results, so they are good for something.) But somethings I just can't help myself. Sometimes I just wonder what an agent is thinking as he or she reads it.
I need to stop that. I don't write books for agents. I write them for readers.
But then, readers won't read them if agents don't like them. (UGH!)
There's really only one choice. Write the best story I can, to the best of my ability and to my satisfaction. It's like Elana's 100%. You've got to be happy with it before anyone else is.
And you can't sit there wondering what this agent or that agent is going to think. I learned - or I thought I learned - a long time ago that you can't control what anyone else thinks. You can't worry your head about it, because you have absolutely no control over anyone thinking you're insert descriptive adjective here. If the agent doesn't like it, you can't help it. If a lot of agents don't like it, then yeah, maybe you need to rewrite or shelve. But, in the end, you can't control what they think.
So no more what-if's. Write your best. Be happy with what you write. And send it off, sure that you've done your best.