Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Calling It Quits

How do you know when to throw in the towel? I've been working on this particular manuscript (a prequel to a completed manuscript) for over 2 years now. Granted, one year of that time was spent writing my chick lit novel. And another half year was spent trying to type a word here, a paragraph there. I've come to the conclusion that the reason this story is no longer flowing for me is because it's flawed. And rather than spend the next 10 years trying to complete it, it's time to close the folder and move onto a different story. Maybe in 10 years, when I'm a better writer, I'll be able to come back to this manuscript and fix it so that it works, but I don't have the skill to do that now and it's time I realize that and stop staring at the blank screen wondering if I'm cut out to be a writer. I know I am. I've finished two novels. So if it's not me, it's got to be the story. Part of the problem could be the fact that I've been working in this world since I was 12 and, as I'm significantly older than 12 now, it's time for me to do something different, something fresh. Another concern is that the more I learn about writing and sales and the more I read other people's novels the more cliched my ideas for that world sound. I did come up with the ideas for it when I was younger, so while they have evolved over time they're certainly dated. As I said, it's a flawed manuscript. But it's hard to just throw out a year of your life. I spent a lot of time on that manuscript. I love the characters. I did some fun things. I have some great passages. But is it worth stagnating over? No. So it's time to move on.


Jim C. Hines said...

It's a very hard decision to make, regardless of which way you choose to go. But your thinking makes sense to me, for whatever that's worth. Good luck with the next project!

Anonymous said...

One of the problems with our society is the belief that only results count. That and busy work. I guess that's why we see a lot of so-called 'over-night successes'. Until,that is, you listen to the people themselves & they tell you the long story that culminated in that 'overnight' success. Thinking & pondering & planning, editing, rethinking, evaluating are all part of the creative process too but cannot be seen by others.

Maybe too, there is some type of life knowledge or experience or info for the story that you haven't gathered yet in order for the plot to fall into place.

Your reasoning for leaving it makes sense as it leaves everything wide open for a future relook while moving forward with other projects in the present.

Anonymous said...

oops, the first para of the above response should have gone under the next heading. I guess i read 2 and didn't realize that as I commented. Sorry. Karin.