The biggest bad part of not starting in her POV was that it might lead some readers to think that the novel was going to be about a completely different character. The biggest good part was that when Dorothy does appear, the reader should be intrigued about her identity, piecing it together from visual clues. But, those clues would have been obvious to someone familiar with the book, not someone who only knew of Oz from the movie, where the slippers are ruby and Dorothy hasn't been kissed on the forehead by the Witch of the North, leaving a visible mark. Now, there won't be a mystery about who Dorothy is, so the reader can instead focus on the mystery of what she'd doing and why she'd doing it, a mystery that pays off in the following chapter.
There will still be one more draft of the novel, following line editing, then of course there will be galleys. But, when I arrived home from work Monday and sat down at my computer, I had the strangest sensation. For the first time since I turned in Dragonseed almost six years ago, I don't have a next novel lined up to work on, nor am I immediately needing to plunge into revisions of an already drafted novel. (Yet. I will be revising Cut Up Girl eventually, but it's not urgent, no deadline.)
The sensation is both a great relief and more than a little unsettling.
The relief is easy enough to understand. It's late spring. If I'm not stuck in front of a computer, I can be out hiking or biking or-dare I dream?-fishing. In a more sedentary mode, maybe I can catch up on some of the movies I've missed in the last couple of years. People get vacations from other jobs. Why should writing be an exception?
It's a little unsettling because, writing is more than just a job for me. It's built into my structure, it's what I think about constantly, it's part of my identity. If I didn't write, I don't have any idea how I would know myself. Who am I if I'm not the person typing away at stories in the evening? Writing is my drug of choice. It takes me away from the world, alters my mind and mood, makes me neglect important stuff, but also gives me highs I can never fully explain to anyone else. If I go too long without writing, I get withdrawal symptoms. My real fear is... what if I got through the withdrawal, came out the other side free of my need to write, free of my dependence on the habit? I spend my days pondering "what ifs." This is a "what if" I'm terrified of contemplating too deeply.
So, I need a novel to write. In the next few days, I'll talk about my candidate novels, and go through the pros and cons of each, and try to document my process for making a decision.