Omigosh you guys!! Writing conferences can make you think about your writing in a whole new way - a fact proven to me once again in Oregon at the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writer's Workshop. I submitted a first page for group critique. It was read aloud anonymously (which I love) and critiqued by the group of instructors in front of everyone.
I submitted a first page of a story that I knew needed work. I wasn't entirely happy with it and I couldn't really figure out why. I had written the book and decided it needed a better beginning, so I wrote a new chapter one and stuck it on the beginning of the book. It was a beautiful chapter one and I was very proud of it, but as it was read aloud and I listened to everyone's comments, I realized it doesn't match the rest of the book. The tone is literary, reflective, and somewhat sad, but the rest of the book is a silly, little paranormal romance I wrote for fun. I think I've come to the realization that this chapter one doesn't belong to this paranormal story at all, but to another sort of story.
I don't mind writing young adult (YA) contemporary. Hush Puppy is YA contemporary, but I seem to have to stumble into these kinds of books. The first chapter of Hush Puppy placed well in a contest and I knew I had to write the book. The first chapter of this book, written in contemporary style, got such positive feedback in the critique session that I think I had better write it too. Perhaps my strength lies in YA contemporary?
I know I probably worry too much about writing heavy subjects...I'm not sure why I hesitate to go there. Probably because I know it will be much work and will require much soul searching, some of it probably gut wrenching. I also know those are the kinds of stories I seem to do the best so I suppose I should listen to the universe and get busy writing.
But where to begin? Reimagining the entire story completely differently is a little daunting. I wish I could erase my memory! Have you ever scrapped an entire manuscript to start off in another direction? How did you do it??