Writing Advice Please?

You know when you spend so much time working on a single novel that you start to become numb and lose all interest? When no matter what you do to try to fix it, change it, or whatever, nothing is making it read the way you want, and the only thing you feel will help is scrapping the entire thing and starting from a new angle? Yeah, that’s where I am with the series I’m currently working on. I’ve been writing it for years (yes, several years of writing time have gone into this, and it’s still not even close to done), and I am millimeters away from deleting the entire file folder and starting from scratch.

Nothing I seem to do is making it work, from changing big scenes and adding/subtracting characters, to rewriting the entire thing twice. The friends I’ve shown it to have liked it, but you never really know whether those friends are being honest, or if they are just trying to be nice, even if it’s someone you think you can trust completely with something of this nature. No, nothing’s working. The only thing I see fit to do at this point is to hide the entire series away in an obscure corner of my laptop and work on something totally unrelated for a while. What else is there to do? I just feel like right now is not the right time to right these books, like the reason it isn’t working is because I just need a break from them to come at it from a fresh point of view.

I am working on a novel that it somewhat related to the series, but only through the main character, and that one is going great (at least in my opinion) compared to the full series. It’s just this one story that, for some reason or another, refuses to cooperate. It’s maddening, and I want so badly to finish it and be happy with it, but maybe it’s just because the first of the series was supposed to be the first novel I was going to publish. I don’t know, maybe I’m just scared to start a new novel with all new characters after writing the same people for so long.

So my question for anyone who may stumble across this post in the vast abyss of the internet where blog posts get lost in the darkness: If you had spent countless hours on a novel, written over 100k words for it, and it still wasn’t working, would you scrap the entire thing or salvage what is salvageable and try to build from the fragments that remain?

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4 thoughts on “Writing Advice Please?

  1. LillianC says:

    Can you sum up the story in one simple, direct sentence? Once you can do that, put that up over your work area to keep you focused. Can you do a reverse-outline, where you outline what you’ve already written so that way you get a different perspective on what structure you may or may not have? You’ve made a serious investment of time and effort here. It’s just a matter of clearing away some parts and pulling together the others. Your book is in there. Keep the faith!

    • kimberleymc says:

      Thanks! I know what I wanted to write, and it still makes sense on the whole, but I think my problem now is more about not having as much interest in the actual story as I used to. It doesn’t really seem worth as much time, like it’s grown stale or something. For now, I think I’m just going to work on another of my books and take a long break. I may start this one from scratch in the future, but for now, my other book is most definitely where my time will be spent.

  2. munchkinwrites says:

    Sadly I don’t have any useful advice because I haven’t invested that many words in my story yet. But I really encourage you to persist and continue writing, if you have the tiniest love for the story! Did you ever have so much fun writing it that it was all you looked forward to? As Anne Lamott says in her writing book “Bird by Bird”, all first drafts are ‘shitty’! There is nothing wrong with it not being perfect – you can always go back and edit. In fact, you have to. It’s part of the whole writing process! If your writing just isn’t coming together, consider taking a small break. Read some books, and if your own story tugs at you to drop other books and finish it then you’ve got yourself a window of opportunity. Just write what you love and worry about the rest later, is what I’m slowly learning to do.

    All the best!

    • kimberleymc says:

      Thanks for the comment! I like that about all first drafts being shitty, that definitely is true. Unfortunately this story is on it’s 3rd or 4th draft already, and nothing I’m doing seems to be helping at all. I’m not as close to this story as I used to be, probably because I started writing it when I was still a teen. For now I’m going to put it aside and not think about it for a while, and I’ll work on my other novel that does still hold meaning. I appreciate the kind words! 🙂

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