Random shout-out of the day: Whoohoo! Supersized Office episode tonight! Is it sad that this might be the highlight of my week? Reviewers who have seen the epi say it's the best of the season. I'm SO there. You?
Question of the day: I've been slaving over my manuscript for several years now, and after a few revisions and some critiques from a writing group, I'm stuck. I *think* it can get better, but I don't know if it really can. I guess what I'm asking is, have you ever given up on a manuscript and if so, how did you know to abandon it?
What a timely question for me because I've recently more or less conceded that my current WIP is a washout. As in, I've written 40k words but I think that's as far as I'm going. Here are my reasons why:
1) The actual writing process felt like an absolute chore. Look, I was really spoiled when I wrote TDLF: it was so effortless that words flew from my brain to my fingers without hesitation, and I wrapped the entire ms in just a few months. I don't really expect to repeat that process. BUT, I'd almost come to dread my daily work on the WIP - I'd set a goal for myself of 1000 words a day, and while I was meeting that goal, I was also constantly checking my word count to see how many more I had to squeeze out. That's not what I consider fun.
2) I put down the first half of the ms and have had NO desire to pick it back up. I'm someone who needs to be inspired in order to pull out her best work. Clearly, I'm lacking inspiration.
3) I haven't once thought about the characters or their problems since I've put it down. When I was drafting TDLF, I was constantly mulling over my heroine and her entanglements. I mean, seriously, they would wake me up at night. With my WIP, not only have I not thought about my heroine, when I do, I'm not even sure where I should take her for her next step...which is a big problem. If you don't know where your characters need to go or where you want them to end up, you can take them down a very rambling path that can lead to nowhere. From the get-go, I knew where and how TDLF was going to end, even though I couldn't predict all of the stops along the way.
4) I know that I can do better. This is probably the most important reason for setting the WIP aside. When I reread it, it's actually very good, and my agent agrees. But, as I said above, I don't think that it's inspired: it's a well-written, smart 1/2 book, but it's not on the same level as TDLF (in my and her opinion), simply in terms of passion and enthusiasm, which definitely shine through in the writing. So...maybe one day I'll muster up a brilliant idea for the second half, and idea that will push me through and create a truly compelling read, but for now, I'm not willing to settle for a decent book when I know that I'm capable of a fabulous one.
So, I can't speak to whether or not you should set your WIP aside, but those are my reasons for doing so. If you're stuck and don't know where else to go with it, yes, I'd try something new. It's not as if you can't return to this one or you're abandoning it forever. You might even find that working on a new project allows you to figure out where you were going wrong with this one...
Anyone else ever abandoned a WIP? Why'd you do so?