Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday WIP Letting Go

This is a bit of a different kind of Wednesday WIP. I have to ask a question that's been weighing heavily on my heart. How do you know when your novel is not working? Is there a number of times that you open and close the document? Is it a feeling in your gut?

Tunnel Vision, my nano project, is completed. There is a beginning, middle and end. It had problems, like all rough drafts. I blogged about it, cried, screamed....Then I had a shining light of hope. Then I didn't like it again. I blogged about it, cried, screamed...and I let it sit. I've let it sit for a couple of months. I printed it out and decided to give it another chance. This time, I told myself, I would just read through it. No editing. No re-writing. Appreciate the story.

That. Is. Hard.

No, let me re-phrase this...That is impossible. Impossible. Not even close to achievable. Seriously.

So, I allowed myself small corrections/edits...whatever. Okay?

I really hate it. I don't feel the characters, I don't feel the story....I just don't like it. My BFF loves what she's been able to read of it. She is quite possibly ready to strangle me if I don't like what I write. Another person, an online writing friend, read it in one night. She knew it needed work, loved the story.

I still really hate it. So, do I put it away, save it and know that maybe someday I will love it too? Or, do I work on it, keep sweating over it to perfect it? Is it giving up if I put it away?

I read an interview, and I can't reference it because I don't remember where I ran across it, and the author said that the key is to FINISH. Always FINISH the novel. Does that mean the rough draft? I need to be a writer. I feel the need in my blood every time I think of quitting.

So, tell me Cool Kids...what to do?


  1. I have five ms that I've retired. Most of them just aren't up to scratch and I consider them learning novels. A couple of them I still think have potential but would need to be completely rewritten to be any good and I'm not in a place to do that right now.

    Betas really liked a couple of them, but for whatever reason I just got over them. At the end of the day I don't want to be slaving over a novel that I don't like, but that's just me.

    It's so hard to know when to let go of a story but usually I try and trust my gut. Good luck!

  2. Oh, gosh. If you don't like it, how will you ever convince an agent that he or she should like it? I think you've already made the decision . .

  3. If it's finished, put it away. Consider it done. Perhaps someday you'll go back to it but don't beat yourself up over it. Consider it like a contest entry that didn't win, place, or show. Now go write something else.

    And don't let anyone talk you into editing or revising it. It will only drive you nuts to be working on something that you know is wasting your time and you don't like all that much to begin with. Move on.

  4. I must say, there is a reason I love you ladies so much! :0)

  5. Hmmm, I'm not sure what to advice here, on the one hand we all have our practice novels and stories that end up just not working. We write these with the hopes that they will be like any other novel, but they are really lessons for us and serve their purpose in giving us writing practice.

    But on the other hand, writers can be the worst judge of their own work. It's very easy to fall into the "it sucks" world and never finish anything. This is where I use Heinlein's writing rules to guide me.

    Each writer is different. I'm probably gonna go against the group and advice you to finish it. Stop worrying about it being perfect. Fix the little things like grammar and errors, fill in the plot holes, have your beta readers read it and tell you if it sucks, if not, fix only small things they find, find a publisher, and send it out, keep sending it out until you've exhausted all possible publishers. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  6. We're on the same wave-length I think! I just had this problem and just found a solution. It's been nice and since I've let it go I couldn't have been happier.

    In Stephen King's book On Writing he said when he was writing Carrie he hated the MC, he hated her all the way through but his wife told him to write more, it was a good story and he should keep working on it. He did for awhile, piece by piece. However he also worked on other novels, with characters he both appreciated and loved.

    Obviously as you know Carrie is published and is now a motion picture, but he said that he never liked her, he started to pity her at the end, the story was hard to write and not loving the character wasn't easy but it's what made the story. Carrie wasn't supposed to be liked she was supposed to be pitied.

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is don't beat yourself up, if you've completed it put it away, don't give up on it, but just let it rest. Work on something else that has more of your attention and maybe just maybe that story will come back to you.

  7. That's interesting. I think you have to love it because you're going to be working on it for a long time. Agent edits, editor edits, marketing.


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