I've recently asked for some feedback on StarMark from a few friends, to see whether I'm finally getting into my MC's head. The answer seems to be 'yes, but you could do better!'
The other problem that's been highlighted in the very first chapter is that my MC is acting a bit too mature for her intended age - an issue that's partly tied up with 'voice'. Problem is, the first chapter revolves almost entirely around the MC. The only other character in this chapter pops her clogs within the first couple of pages, so it's all got to be 'head-stuff' to keep things moving. And I don't do head-stuff well enough to make that work. Yet.
I'm not disagreeing with the feeder-backers - I think they definitely have a point - but I really, REALLY wish that I didn't feel so negative about it! Because I'm not quite sure what to do now. It's getting to the point where I've reworked this first chapter so many times, I'm losing sight of what I wanted to achieve in it. Feels like I'm in a constant edit cycle with no way of getting off at the moment!
I'll use the Accept, Amend, Reject rule, but it may be that StarMark ends up as a bit of a compromise - I get it to where I'm comfortable in the headology department, self-publish and accept that it's not going to be perfect but it's as good as I can make it at the moment without ruining it. Resign myself to doing better with the headology in anything I write in the future. There is also part of me that wonders how much headology a 9-12 year old would expect to read in a book - am I beating myself up about the headology because I'm coming at it from too adult a reader's perspective? Will my young readers mind if they don't get so far inside Irvana's head?
I suppose the only way I'll find that out is to get the story out there. I'm giving myself to the end of the year.