Am I missing something?

I recently got my last assignment back.  My instructor is “pleased” with my work and said I “made excellent progress”.  Apparently I still have a ways to go though.  She gave me a few things to think about.  I’m thinking all right.  I’m also wondering if I can still call myself a writer.  I write, but is that enough?  Why am I questioning myself?

My instructor has asked a few questions that make me wonder if I’m missing something.  Missing THE something that makes a good story come together to be a good book.  I have my story planned out.  Really, it’s already written.  I wrote it during NaNoWriMo 2011.  At least a pathetic first draft of it anyway.  It needs to be rewritten, completely apparently.  I knew it needed major work and I would have to rewrite most of it (which is why I signed up for the book writing course at the Institute of Children’s Literature), but now I think I’ll be keeping the opening scene and that’s about it.

The opening scene is what got me started on this story.  It’s also what the questions are about.  My instructor wants to know how my opening scene plays into the overall story and how it will be “brought full circle”.  She also wants to know what meaning it has and how it will affect the ending.

My opening scene is really to pull the reader in (obviously) and let them know my protagonist has crossed over into another world and in doing so, has put her life in mortal danger.  That’s it.  I didn’t really have a plan on how it would play into the overall story besides clarifying what’s going on right at the start.  Does it need to?  Am I missing a key element of novels?  Do stories usually go full circle?  Does it need to tie into the ending and affect it?  I’ve thought of the most recent fictional books I’ve read and don’t really see a full circle thing going on or a connection between the opening scene and how the ending occurs.  Am I dense or just not thinking deep enough or too deep?  Am I being too insecure about my writing?

I hope everyone has a great New Year’s.  See you in 2013!

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