I just realized tomorrow will be the 1st anniversary of writing what has become the first chapter of this novel I’ve been chewing on ever since.

I suppose it started as an exercise, a challenge to write a character that needed to be brought to life, if only for one very short story. That brief introduction to him was enough to get me hooked and out of it a story was born.

Twelve months (though really only 5), eleven chapters, and 128 pages later I’ve hit that first major milestone, the one-third mark. My two main characters are alive; they’re real and struggling, and more importantly, I’ve finally brought them together despite the unlikeliness of their meeting. I suppose, not knowing I was starting a novel back then, that’s not too shabby.

Of course, after reaching the milestone, it didn’t take long for the ol’ writer’s curse to set in – doubt. On top of the ever present, “No one will ever want to read this,” and “What the hell am I wasting my time for?” I’m now battling all sorts of story-specific questions like, “Are my characters real enough?” “Will anyone actually care about them?” “Have I shown enough of their struggles and strengths?” “Was their meeting too contrived?”

Shadows of such shallow confidence are darkening the path ahead and I’m not sure what to do. I’m still caught in the quandary of going back or forging ahead. Do I throw it in reverse to add the stuff I know I need to add, to change the things that surely need to be changed, and to analyze what’s there to see if it even holds water? Or do I plod ahead, knowing full well that there are things missing in the first third of the story that I’ll have to go back and add later?

There are arguments for both, and I’m stuck between them. I hoping for an inspiration or revelation to push me in one direction or the other, especially since I really want to finish a draft this year.

Man, I didn’t see this coming.