Thanks to everyone who sent me emails through this website – I hope I’ve managed to reply to them all. Natasha, I’m afraid the email address you put in the form didn’t work, so I hope you don’t mind if I answer your question here. Natasha said:
I would like to be a writer, and I often think I have a good idea and start writing it. Then I read it and think its rubbish. A lot of the time it is. So how do I know if I should edit and continue writing to make it un-rubbishy or to just stop and not waste time on bad ideas?
This is a problem I have a lot of the time too. I think it’s important to remember that first drafts generally are rubbish – I know mine are. What I find more important is how excited you are by telling this story – are you full of ideas for it, do you have a strong picture of what it might look like when it’s finished, are you interested enough in it to keep on writing? If you write the first couple of pages and are really bored, then that’s probably a good time to stop.
If you’re still excited by the story, but don’t like what you’ve written, maybe think about telling the same story in a different way. Try telling it in first person, or third person, or from a different character’s point of view. Start in a different place, or tell it as a diary, or in present tense rather than past. Keep playing with it until it falls into place and it starts to feel like it’s working again.
And good luck!