|I know there's a flaw here somewhere! Everyone search!|
One of the bright spots of having a good critique group is finding the problem you knew you had, but couldn't identify.
Such was the case with the first chapter of Book 2, the sequel to Into the Tides. Or, more specifically, they helped me realize my opening conflict was focused too much on the past, and not on setting up the current story--and also how to fix this problem.
Having a critique group is like having a private army of investigators helping you search for a lost set of keys on a beach. Looking by yourself can take hours, days, even weeks of ruminating and head-banging-into-desks. But call on a few other beach-goers, and the search ends quickly, hopefully before you get far enough along that changing things will be more difficult (or the tide buries your keys).
Now I've got a good direction to head in. Which is great, because the first book is scheduled to go out this fall, which means #2 needs to have a good start if I want to publish at a reasonable pace. So while you all read about tone-deaf Kelly trying to use her "useless" inborn music magic to save everyone she loves, I'll be taking away the career a man has spent his life working for, in exchange for a magic he doesn't want.
When something is bugging you, and you feel like it's a little bit off but you don't know why, how you figure it out?