Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh I'll NEVER Finish it! Or, My Two-Year Novel Folly

Anybody remember Don Music from Sesame Street? I feel a lot like him lately. Why? Because most writers have projects they can't abandon, even when it's clear they're just not working. And I've been toiling away on something like that for a long time--almost two years, to be exact. I've only recently come to accept that I'm either going to have to scrap it or attack it from a completely different angle with a completely different vision, probably after some significant time away.

How did I get here? It's simple: I love the concept behind this particular novel. My agent loves the concept. My beta readers love the concept. It's a really, really cool idea that could be AWESOME if executed well. Or it could be a huge hot mess. And right now, despite my best efforts, it's more of the latter.

Still, I've soldiered on because along the way, I grew to love my characters, too. I kept hoping that, if I just continued to work, then I would all of a sudden find my way to the WOW. I'm like a sculptor who keeps re-arranging parts--"what if I put the kneecaps *here* this time?"--thinking eventually I'll find the right configuration and end up with a masterpiece.

But my latest round of feedback from critique partners tells me the sculpture still isn't taking shape. And it probably doesn't want to be the sculpture I originally envisioned. What I think I actually have is 5 different books that are getting crammed into one. I know that's a lot to get your head around, 5 books from one project, but that's how out-there this concept really is. And that's why I'm going to take a break for awhile. I'll work on other things, then come back and see what's really there.

Because I don't think all of that time was wasted. I'm hopeful something awesome will eventually materialize. I just need to find a way to let it go. For now.

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