I’m ten thousand words into Book 2, and I think I’m going to have to start fresh. Save what I’ve written under the desultory title of Draft One and open a brand new Word file for a fresh beginning.

Which–is unexpected. I had not thought to stall out so quickly, nor to lose the ability to tell the tale after the success of Book 1. Note that I am not saying I feel unable to write the second novel, but rather that my first attempt failed.

Why? Look at those two faces above. They both serve as inspiration for my protagonist, Selah Brown. They both convey a wealth of intensity, dignity, power, and beauty that I’m striving to bring to my portrayal of her. It’s vital that I do so, for the success of the novel hinges in large part upon her growth as a character, and the reader’s willingness to not only believe her to be capable of amazing feats, but to also care deeply about her.

I don’t think I’ve achieved that in my first 10k. In rushing, forcing my way forward as a man might elbow his way through a dense thicket. Trying through sheer persistence to make the story work. I was fixating on plot and neglecting character, neglecting the nuance and richness that saves a story from being merely melodramatic.

Normally my modus operandi is to push on with the first draft no matter what. Just finish the damn thing, and then go back and edit. But not this time. It’s essential that I capture the right emotions, begin with the right sense of tension, for otherwise I fear that the rest of the novel will fail to develop it.

So. Tonight I’m going to sleep early. Wake up early tomorrow morning. Open a new Word file, and then take a good look at those two faces above. And once I’ve drank deep of everything I read in them, I’m going to start all over–and this time I’ll get it right.