You never know where the answer to your problems is going to come from.
Wednesday I was ready to start beating the keyboard with my forehead because everything about the book I’m working on just feels wrong at the moment. Then yesterday, in an email conversation with a fellow writer, I explained what the story is about and she asked, Is this a YA?
It’s not, but her question got me thinking. I went for a run a little later (word of advice: don’t go running outdoors at noon on an orange air quality day) and that’s when I had my aha! moment: my main character is too old. I’ve been writing her as thirty-five, but everything she’s going through will make a lot more sense if she’s more like twenty-five. Her younger brother becomes her older brother, and things with her parents take on a different sense of urgency.
Of course, coming to this conclusion halfway through the first draft means I can either stop and revise or keep plowing forward and fix the unevenness later. I always opt for forging ahead in cases like this. If you’re lucky enough to have forward momentum, it’s not the time to reverse course.