Q: What do you guys think of my story so far? Should I keep going?
This seems to be a very popular question. I'll argue it's a useless question, and explain why.
This reply is directed at new writers, and despite the tone that may follow, I really do intend to be sincere and helpful. I was once a newbie, too. And although I'm certainly not going to claim to be great, I've fallen flat on my face enough times to learn how to pick myself up and produce something I'm proud of.
Here's why you need to not ask this question. You're either going to succeed, or you're going to fail. But, either way, you'll be better off for having:
2. Figured out how to motivate yourself to continue
3. Completed the entire first run of the story yourself
1 ~ I can speculate that there are plenty of people out there who are afraid of failure. I know first-hand. I'm not a professional writer. I teach mathematics. And it is my job every Fall to convince a hundred freshmen that to get anywhere, you have to work hard, even if success is not immediately guaranteed. I have high standards. If 2/3 of a class fails the first midterm, so be it. But I'm proud to say that, with very few exceptions, everyone who makes a sincere effort to pass does so by the end of the term - because if they haven't learned one of life's most valuable lessons, they have by then:
You have to learn it's acceptable to fall flat on your face. It's inevitable, and nobody is above it. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that those who are successful learn to pick themselves back up, and try again.
This means: you do not need mine or anyone else's "go ahead" to write that manuscript. If you're afraid of continuing and wasting your time on a failure, then you have the wrong attitude. Completing the work will make you a better writer, even if that manuscript never sees the light of day.
Of course, it's unrealistic to expect the first draft of any larger work to be good. That's why editing is such an important part of the process.
In short, take the plunge. If it never works out, take the lesson and apply it to your next story.
2 ~ You do not need a cheerleader to cheer you on. It's unreliable. The best motivator is yourself, because you know your dreams and aspirations better than anyone else.
If you can't motivate yourself, ask why. Be honest with yourself. This is a good opportunity for some personal growth. Are you afraid of failure? (see #1). Is writing just not a priority? (That's okay... just be honest). Do you not know what to do? (Research the answer, then).
3 ~ All other considerations aside, it's just hard to give an incomplete story a proper evaluation. Is the first half good? Well, that really depends, at least in part, in the direction you plan to take it.
Even worse, the first part may seem good at a first glance, then turn out to be fluff by the end. This actually happened to me. The first 50 pages of my manuscript? "Sounds great!" Once I finished: "What was the point of the first six chapters?"
It's easier to get advice from others when you've done as much as you can yourself. Specific questions are easier to answer well than vague ones.
In short, should you keep writing? Yes.