First novel woes


The infamous first novel. The one that you pour your heart into, query to death, and ultimately lock away in a drawer. Perhaps to be seen again years hence, revised with your newly-developed authorial brilliance, and shared with the world. Probably not, though.There's a reason writers resist moving on from that first novel. There's a reason we query too soon, get over-excited, and dread moving onto the next -- all the cliches you constantly hear. There's a reason they're cliches. It's because doing something once is no proof at all that you can do it again.It's that fear that has kept me working on the same manuscript for nearly four years. Not the first novel I've written, but the first I've seriously wanted to publish. The more I revise The Devil's Wall, the more problems surface. And now on my fifth revision, I'm starting to think there's no cure. There's nothing I can do that will make it work. It's structurally unsound, and I'm now throwing good effort after bad.I'm going to continue this revision with the help of my Author Mentor Match mentor, as she's giving me great, constructive feedback. But she hasn't gotten to the really rough parts of my story yet. I'm worried about what happens when she does.And most of all, I'm scared that if this manuscript does go belly-up, hopelessly beyond repair, with no viable path towards structural integrity, then that'll be it. There's no next novel. If I give up on this one, I may as well give up on being a writer.I didn't write for years before The Devil's Wall came to me. Or rather, when I did, it was empty writing. I didn't connect with what I wrote, and therefore it came out empty, dead, without a pulse. I'm afraid that's what I'm heading for once I've finished with Evgenia and Anna.So for now, I cling. I cling to this story that does have a beating heart, and life to it. I feel like Eminem on 8 Mile -- you only get one shot. And I know that's not true when it comes to writing. But...what if it is?