Starting my novel has been easier than I expected, but the insecurity of my plot and my characters has finally hit me. Even though the story has been bouncing around in my head for years and the characters have taken a while to form, I still feel like I'm unprepared to tell this story. Will it make sense? Will it be compelling enough to make a reader turn to the next page? I guess no one really knows that about their own work, but thoughts like these make it harder to think clearly when expanding on the plot or tweaking it.
I don't work well when everything has been completely planned out and, conversely, I don't work well when there hasn't been anything planned at all - it's been about finding the sweet spot in between that'll make me feel comfortable with the structure of the story enough to wing it at certain parts. I am currently at 4200 words, almost at my goal of 5000 per week, and it makes me a bit nervous that I'm already running into these concerns. Is this normal for every writer? Does your novel never truly feel complete, even when published and on bookshelves?
I'm hoping that as I continue to write and learn more about my characters that I'll feel more confident in how I'm telling their story. Nothing is perfect on the first go, so I'm expecting to have to do a lot of editing once this first draft is done. It's seems silly to put this much pressure on my work so early on in the process, but it's hard to put your emotions and your ideas out there without being incredibly hard on the person you are portraying to the world. I've been trying to take breaks in between writing large chunks of the novel, just to give my mind time to process what has happened so far and to come up with new details that will elevate the plot and make the characters more realistic. There's nothing worse than static characters that just act as a vessel for simplistic dialogue. I want it all to feel organic and convincing without being forced down the reader's throat.