It’s sad when you can’t keep doing something you wanted to very much.
I had the GREATEST idea ever for a book; I know what’s going to happen, I know who most of the characters are and there is a terrific supporting character who would be a hoot if it ever became a film. But something is happening, or rather not happening, with this book. It’s like my brain is constipated and I push and squeeze but nothing comes out.
Poo analogy aside, I read a post today at Help! I Need A Publisher! that made me realize what might be wrong. Please go and read it; I’ll wait.
Essentially, what Nicola Morgan says is that a great idea isn’t enough; it has to have a point. She also says, “Beginning writers may find themselves spending too long nurturing a dud idea.”
I don’t think the idea is a dud. I do think it’s not the right time to write it. I might not have the right mindset here. The bits I’ve shared with other people—a pivotal scene I wrote for a class assignment and the bare bones of the thing with a family member—were well received. In fact, I get nagged about “When you gonna finish it?”
The truth? I don’t know.
At first I wondered if I was afraid, that it was such a good idea that the concept of possibly writing a breakout novel was too intimidating and I was unconsciously sabotaging myself. But that just doesn’t ring true. There is a lot of detail I would have to research, but it’s not that big a deal to do it. Some of it I already know; the rest I can find or make up easily. I want to write the book, so it’s not that. I’ve written some of it but I just can’t go any farther right now.
Then I thought: Am I so in love still with Rose’s Hostage, the book I’m querying now, that I can’t let it go enough to immerse myself in the other world? Especially since I have a sequel planned? Possibly. I need to do the research for that sequel now because if I should move for any reason, I would lose access to a resource right in my backyard.
What to do? It’s a quandary for sure. These kinds of decisions can be painful, but writers have to make them. If you begin a story that sounded great in your head but looks stupid on the page, it’s no big deal. Shred those pages. Delete that file. It’s much harder to give up on something that shows promise.
Don’t delete the one you give up on for a while. Keep it. It might kindle within you in time; I’m certainly not letting mine go yet. But I think it needs to cook a bit. Perhaps it needs more attention than I can give right now, and the Universe has plans for me so I can write it the way it deserves. Let’s hope so. I’ve been searching for a voice for this piece, a structure and a point of view that will make it as special as I think it can be. When I find it, I’ll let you know.
If you’ve had to give up on something you thought was good but you knew it wasn’t working, please share in the comments.