Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Letting go

Finding the spark again after a long absence is hard. That pretty much goes for anything.  Creativity, relationships, passions, and cooking. Give it up for a while and getting back on that horse and kicking up speed is not easy. 

I was recently stumped on manuscript number...four.  It started as a short story that got too long winded, funny how that happens, and I had to go back and make sure dots were connected and lines filled and I jumped on it and started writing.  This was maybe...eight months ago. Since then, I've written ideas for a manuscript 6, 7, 8...I think I'm at ten right now. 

Number 4 has stalled. 

Stubborn as I am I didn't want to let it go.  I have twenty chapters completed, about 43,000 words. I've rekindled the flame by letting a critter read it. He gave me sound advice for the direction of the manuscript which I have used. But still, I feel as if it's dead weight, bobbing in the sea of vast opportunities for other work that demand my attention.  I guess I've known for a while that this one would have to be placed on a shelf for a little bit. I've known but didn't want to give up on my characters, to leave them in limbo.

But alas, I have to redirect my attention elsewhere.  I have fallen in love with a new idea and decided to go there and see where it takes me.  How do you know when it's ready to hang an idea, to shelf something you started?

13 comments:

  1. It IS hard to let something go if it's not working for you. I was in that position a few months ago, struggling with a WIP that seemed to be going nowhere.

    I had a shiny new idea and started working on that instead. Oddly enough, working on the new project unplugged some kind of blockage in the old one. For awhile, I was working on them side by side -- a chapter of one, then a chapter of the other.

    Suddenly, the older project took off running. I completed it last week, and I am excited about how it turned out.

    Now, it's in the hands of beta readers, and I need to turn my attention back to that "shiny new idea" with 19,000 words to it. I am wondering tonight if I'll be able to get back into it.

    So, my advice is -- Go ahead. Let go. If the project calls you back, then it was meant to be. If not, then ... well, not.

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  2. Thanks Dianne. I needed to hear that. =)

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  3. I agree with Dianne, sometimes you have to give yourself permission to play with a new idea. After all,we're supposed to be writing what we love, right?

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  4. Oh, this is a tough thing to be in. I usually stick with it until the story is finished. I have so many ideas boiling in my cauldron right now, but one thing at a time. *sigh*

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  5. Hi,

    Long ago I came to the conclusion that if one can't enjoy the process of writing a particular story then it will show in end product, and may put a reader off one's work for life. The thrill factor derived from "needing" to write always shines through, leaving a reader in no doubt the author enjoyed the writing as much as reader enjoyed the read. ;)

    best
    F

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  6. You gals are awesome. I don't feel so bad now leaving my characters for a bit. Thanks!

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  7. I think that's a hard decision but I'd have to look at my excitement for the story and if that has fizzled out completely it might be time for a break from the wip.

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  8. My middle grade stalled out about 2/3 of the way in, not because I didn't think it was viable, but because I got a bit burned out. I recently finished it--had some inspiration strike while on vacation, yay! So it's completed, thank goodness. It's hard to walk away from something that is well on its way, but not yet done. 43,000 words is a lot. HOWEVER, you want to be interested in what you're doing too, or it just doesn't have the same passion as other things. My fouth novel is a bit of a mess because I lost interest in it about halfway in. I ended up finishing it, but immediately shelved it for a new idea, so there ya go.

    Good luck!

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  9. I totally get what you're saying. I think you have to listen to your characters. If they won't let you alone, then you know you need to deal with them. Forcing it just won't work. I think writing needs to be organic and in order for that to happen, you need to allow it to happen. So if the new shiny thing won't stop bugging you, go and grab it and wrestle it to the ground. LOL, b

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  10. You can always fall back in love with an old love so keep the story on hold and pursue what's keeping you on fire right now. Maybe the old story just needs to age some and gain some character.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  11. I think I am going to take hold of that shiny new idea and see where that takes me. The old one will be there waiting for me, I hope. Thanks Everyone!

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  12. Maybe the rest will come to you and you'll feel the spark again.

    I've had plenty of first chapters that I didn't continue. But once I move from chapter two, I keep going.

    Good luck!

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  13. Thanks Theresa. The support in the writing community is awesome!

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