KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ‘EM
So. I’ve got this manuscript. Or part of one, actually.
It’s taken me eighteen months to get to 40k words. (I know, right??) Much longer than it took me to write any other book. Ever. I’ve plotted. I’ve pantsed. I’ve filled out character questionnaires, GMC-ed, written copious notes in multiple notebooks, and walked around with these people in my head trying to fit their lives together in a cohesive way. I scrapped the whole thing several times (five? six?) and started over.
I entered contests when I thought I finally had it right, finalled in two, won one, both resulted in requests--one for a full, one for a partial.
Happy dance! Time to get this puppy done! I sat down and eagerly set to work.
Eight months later, I’ve totally fizzled. This story simply cannot be told in the way I’ve been trying to tell it. I can’t find the right way to get this romance on paper. It’s like I’ve got the right characters, but am trying to shoehorn them in the wrong story, the wrong life. I dreaded getting out my laptop, opening the file and staring at it. I think I gained weight ‘cause after about 5 minutes I was rummaging around in the kitchen thinking maybe brownies or a granola bar or a spoonful of peanut butter would tell me where to go.
Not so much.
Two weeks ago, I admitted the truth, the truth I think I’ve known since I started this book a year and a half ago--some stories can’t be written. This story can’t be written. And by hiding behind this book, I’ve lost valuable time I could have spent working on one that can be written, a story that might just be The One.
So, I packed it away. I have hope I’ll someday revisit these characters (whom I love), find the way their story is supposed to be told. I changed the background on my laptop (the sight of the other one stressed me out and triggered that run to the kitchen!) and set up a new folder for a new WIP--two of them, actually. I hauled out fresh notebooks and different pen colors. Both of these WIPS feel so much better to me. I can see them and there’s no voice whispering, “This isn’t going to work.”
If there were, I’d listen.