That sums up my mood as I dealt with Caroline Leavitt's review of my new book's first ninety pages. After almost two weeks, I've sorted her advice into: Totally Agree, Need To Think About It, and What? I can't find my story's start now. The emotional conflict departed with the first two chapters and the plotline driving the following eight chapters was destroyed. In other words, it's a train wreck. In order to continue working on the rest of the novel, I swept the wreckage into a metaphorical room and I'm not opening that door until the entire book is written.
But when that time comes, I'll want clear notes that help reconstruct the book's opening so I need to ask more questions. I hope I've recovered enough to respond to Caroline's advice with some objectivity. I like that she encourages questions. I imagine if she taught a physical class, there'd be lots of lively discussion. She has a good sense of humor . . . more Dumbledore than Voldemort. I'm not sure what I'll do with her suggestions that conflict with my previous learning. I was committed to that learning and its sources and I don't know Caroline well enough to toss it out. Maybe I need to shut the opposing views in another room and let them duke it out. I'm tired of wrestling with the issue and I have dementors to battle. Caroline offered advice from John Irving: If you don't feel you are on the edge of humiliating yourself or losing control of the whole thing, then what you're doing isn't vital. If you don't have some doubt of your authority to tell this story, then you're not trying to tell enough. I can't argue with John Irving.