I had quite an epiphany as he was talking to me about what was working in my story and what wasn't. My lack of confidence in my own judgement was killing what was good about my story. Because I'm new to writing novels, I kept thinking that I needed to follow most all of the advice readers gave me to make sure that the story was working. If I did what they suggested then their approval would follow. The problem was that, as I followed advice from different sources, what I ended up with was a complete mishmash of what the story should have been. What a mess!
Just like with this picture, the reader doesn't know where to focus. I ended up with different styles of writing and different genres all mixed together even.
Are we taking everyone's advice no matter how much experience and knowledge they have? Do we not trust ourselves? I'm starting over from the beginning. I'm going to use what works for me. Not everyone will like what I write, and that's okay. They weren't all going to like it anyway. What I have right now doesn't make sense because there are scenes and elements that just don't fit. I'm going back to the original ideas I had and make them work.
Isn't this better? Keep the random elements at bay. Wish me luck! At least I have the tools to make it happen. The friend said that my writing style was really good. Whew! He was really relieved, and so was I.