When It’s Okay to Let Your Story Marinate

It’s been a rough couple of days for my novel. First I scrapped over half of it. But I was okay with that, because I knew that it was getting me in the right direction. And then I decided to scrap it ALL. That part worried me. And the longer I sat trying to plot out exactly what I wanted to happen in the novel, I got completely sucked into the logistics of everything – trying to ensure that every potential plot hole was covered before I even began.

Let me tell you, it’s pretty exhausting trying to rework your entire premise, and then realizing that you are now so far from your original idea that you don’t even think that this new novel is something you would even enjoy writing.

So I went on over to Google+ (one of my favorite places to get instant advice from writers) and asked how you know when to scrap a novel idea. The advice I got was really helpful, and rather reassuring. Here are my takeaways:

  1. Never “scrap” an idea if you still find yourself attached to it. I’ll admit, I’m still attached to this idea that will probably be in my head forever – so that means I’m not giving up on it yet.
  2. You may not be ready to write that novel yet. Many people said that they let ideas hang out for years until something just hit them – and they knew what they needed to do to write the novel the way it needed to be written.
  3. I’m not alone with this problem. Nearly every single person who commented said that they had been through this before. And that was probably the best thing for me to hear. I’m not alone in this. This is normal. Do not give up yet.

For now, that means this current WIP is becoming a hang out until something strikes me kind of work. Which I am coming to terms with. It’s a little strange for me, considering I have been working this idea for over two years now.

That being said, I’m kind of excited to try to work on something new, something that is maybe more what I enjoy writing.

But we’ll see. As always, I’ll probably post about my project, whether it’s going well or I realize that this is my “first shitty novel” that everyone seems to say happens to everyone.

If you are interested in seeing all of the advice I was given, you can find the entire conversation here.

Featured image by Matryosha on Flickr.

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3 thoughts on “When It’s Okay to Let Your Story Marinate

  1. When you say “scrap” do you mean you deleted it?

    Taking a break is always a good idea. Sometimes your brain just needs that to regroup and think things through. Writing something new helps, too. Maybe subconsciously this new idea will help out with your novel. Who knows?

      • Ah, okay. I’ve heard people say to never delete any writing you’ve done. It’s nice to look back and see how you’ve improved… also, you never know if you might go back to it someday or try it a different way. 🙂

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