Monday, January 16, 2012

When Stories Fall Flat

I was reading the intro to Life of Pi and Martel talks about a manuscript he was working on that was well researched, he liked the characters, he even liked the story, but he just felt like it wasn't going anywhere. So, he decided he needed to cut his losses and move on. He says he mailed the manuscript to a fake address in another country so he'd never have to see it again.

I was relieved to hear that other people have stories they love, but can't make them work for one reason or another.

I have half of a book written--the first book I ever wrote actually. I love the characers. I love the story. I love the conflict. And yet, I can't seem to make it work.

I don't want to erase it, though, because I have dreams of going back and rewriting and revising and making it the novel I keep dreaming it could be.

What do you do when a wip just doesn't seem to be working for you? Do you give up? Trash it? Save it? Plow through? Or something uniquly you?


  1. I had a WIP that wasn't working. I stuck with it for a very long time. When I finally shelved it (ie, put it in a Barnes & Noble box and stuffed it in my closet), I felt free to dive into the next. In hindsight, I can see why it wasn't working. Perhaps one day I'll pull that box out again.

  2. Sometimes it takes someone else telling you what isn't working for the light bulb to go on. But as I always say, keep at it! Someday you'll know what direction to go with it.

  3. Don't mail it away (haha). But sometimes you do have to shelve it and just move on. Who knows what the future holds for that ms.

  4. I like the idea of "Shelving It"--just putting it aside where it can always be found later:)

  5. Save it for later.

    The first book I ever wrote was a women's fiction. I still ADORE those people and that story, but I don't know how best to tell it anymore. So it sits.

    I have a couple of "finished" projects that also fall flat. Those I look for the most brutal critiquers I can find to get ideas.

    What I really hate is when an idea for a book looks awesome. I buy it. And it falls flat...

  6. I plow through. Talk it over with my writing group. Go on long walks. Think of every blog post I read in the context of my WIP. I guess I'm not one for letting one go.

    I find it so hilarious that he mailed it to a fake address in another country!

  7. Completely OT!
    I was not very interested in Meg's Melody character Johnny until I read your cut pages! AWESOME!
    I know you are working on something more YA? but I CAN'T wait for your next LDS book! I just revisited Meg and it was just as fantastic as the first time! I hope you are feeling better with your pregnancy!


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