I've been experiencing a kind of paralysis with my WiP. One-third of the way in at 33,500 words, and with a fair idea of some of the scenes up ahead and a good plan for the ending, I should be churning out 1000 words a day with no trouble at all. But I have found myself to be somewhat stuck.
I had a bit of a re-read and realised I'd committed POV slippage in one chapter. I have three main characters and, for the first draft, they are getting a chapter each in turn. Two are girls and one is a boy. The slippage was in a chapter that should have been from the boy's POV, and somewhere in the middle I began writing in one of the girls' POVs without realising what I was doing.
This began to worry me. I thought maybe the whole thing was complete crap (you know how easy it is to slip into that mindset, right?). So I set up a spreadsheet and did a full re-read of what I'd written so far, and a scene-by-scene analysis of POV and tension levels.
Actually, it's not complete crap. It is a first draft with all the holes and saggy bits you'd expect, but it also has some great ideas and some really good writing. It's not boring, either: there's one chapter which has low tension throughout, so that will need addressing, but I know what to do to make it better. And the pacing is already quite good in the other chapters.
However, I did find another POV slippage, again in a chapter that should have been from the boy's POV, this time into the other girl's POV. This began to worry me. I started thinking about my boy character. Why couldn't I get him to stay in his POV? He is the third of the three characters to arrive 'on stage' - did I not know him well enough? I did some freewriting about him, which was helpful, and a character questionnaire, which was also helpful. But I was still struggling to write from his POV.
I began to feel as if I didn't like him. Really, really didn't like him. Which was daft. He's not a bad lad, although he can be annoying: he's stubborn, wary, fidgets, and tells lies. A slippery customer, so perhaps it's not surprising he slipped out of his own POV chapters. But he's also caring, kind to humans and animals, and he's had a really shit deal from life in the last few years. So why would I not like him? Just because he kept pushing me out of his POV?
Eventually I realised that this is a form of writer madness. My boy was created by my own imagination. He is entirely mine to do with as I please. I can write him out of the book, kill him off as horribly as I like, torture, maim and mutilate him if I want to. Or I can cherish him, surprise him with treats, make his wishes come true. But most of all, I can make him damn well behave and stay in his own damn POV!