RoundaboutOur smallish town in northern Colorado seems to have an infatuation with roundabouts. Areas of new growth get the circular intersections installed from the beginning while road improvement projects seem to add at least one per year.

For those without first-hand experience, a roundabout is like coming to an intersection but only being able to make a right-hand turn. If you had wanted to turn left, too bad. You have to go right and circle around three-quarters of a revolution before exiting onto the street you wanted. For additional fun, many have multiple lanes or some that are only allowed to make half the circle.

Supposedly research has found that roundabouts are safer and reduce waiting at intersections (and therefore less exhaust fumes and wasted gas). No more guessing who got to the intersection first and waving to let someone cross before you. No more waiting for the slow-poke across the way to finally creep into their turn while you tap anxiously on the steering wheel. But, for the inexperienced, a roundabout takes getting use to, especially changing lanes while going in circles!

Have you ever felt like your life was stuck in a roundabout? That you were driving in circles instead of a straight line to your destination? That there were too many possible exits or confusing signs to read while trying to stay in your lane?

I recently entered two different writing contests with the opening of one of my recent manuscripts. I did not final in either contest (bummer!) so no coasting through this intersection. I turned to the files containing the judges scores and comments and tried to make sense of the signs. One complimented me on dropping backstory hints to increase tension while another wanted more explanation on the first page. One thought my dialogue was strong and purposeful while another disagreed. So, who should I believe? And what if anything should I change before entering another contest or querying an agent?

I’m driving in circles … and the only good news I can see today is that being forced to slow down makes me more aware of the little elements that will make my story stronger.

What about you? Are there roundabouts in your city? Do you find them confusing or safe? Have you ever driven in circles in life?

Driving In Circles
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