Moving On

7 Aug

Most people don’t like unfinished business. I don’t like unfinished business. Especially unfinished stories. *glares at pile of works in progress* Even though tenacity is something to be admired, there is most likely a reason why you are dragging your fingers over the keyboard.

In my case, I stopped writing this character-driven fantasy story (right around the climax) because I started my Creative Writing Master, so I was dipped into the world of other stories that I had to write. (We were taught/forced to write Literary Fiction, so I had to abandon my fantasy story. *insert grumbling*)

In any case, that break kind of sucked the passion out of the pages for me. There is such a thing as getting out of touch with your own story. Mix that with me not reading any fantasy stories as of late, and that probably launched me write out of the Writing Zone for this particular WIP.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I mean, I wrote the story I’m currently seeking an agent for (and heard good things from agents so far even though I didn’t fit their client list) so YAY! Also, that story is much more ME and this one isn’t. Which is another reason for me to drag my sorry fingers over the keyboard when it comes to this unfinished WIP. Yes, I wrote it and it’s a fun read (what I have so far) but it doesn’t scream ME. Once you have a story that is uniquely you and has your essence seeping through every page, you’ll know what I mean. It makes you feel far more proud and makes other non-you stories seem bland.

It’s also possible, that some stories are simply not ready. This may sound weird (especially to non-writers) but it can happen. Some stories need to grow in the back of your imagination while your life goes on. They need to simmer until they are well-done and ready to be eaten…err, I mean, written down. Your subconscious knows a lot more than you’d think and it needs to connect the dots before your conscious is ready to take the pen to hand.

With some projects it also simply means that you, as a writer, aren’t ready yet. You know the potential of your story idea and realise that you need to sharpen your ninja writing skills so that they match the level of your story. And don’t worry, they will.

It’s okay to move on from a WIP if the wheels simply won’t turn anymore. It’s not shameful, nobody will come after you with a red F (which stands for FAILURE) to paste on your forehead. Sometimes better stories await you.  Just don’t wait too long to drag the words out of your fingers. It can be a waste of time. Remember, there are plenty of other characters knocking at your door. Don’t keep them waiting too long or they might find someone else to share their stories with.

Sometimes, like picking your battles, you have to pick your stories.



9 Responses to “Moving On”

  1. Gina Drayer (@GinaDrayer) August 8, 2013 at 2:16 am #

    You make some good points. Not enough is said about abandoning stuff that just isn’t working. And as you suggest, sometimes just putting the work aside and coming back to it later with fresh eyes does wonders. One of the things I like to do is tweak the plot, change the setting, change the character’s gender, change their age. Little things like this can breath life into work you thought was DOA.

    • pfeatherstonehaugh August 8, 2013 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks for that tip, Gina. I agree that sometimes little differences make a big difference. 😛 Thanks for commenting!

  2. munchkinwrites August 8, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    I think it’s very important to be able to recognise that something needs that time to ‘simmer’. Forcing yourself to continue hacking at it could easily kill your love for the story. Exactly what happened to me years ago. It was like ‘what else would I write if I didn’t work on this big project?’ Other things, apparently, or other parts of the project. That said, I can have a hard time distinguishing whether I’m wisely letting my work ‘simmer’ or if that’s just me being lazy xD

    Thanks for sharing!

    • pfeatherstonehaugh August 8, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      Good to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂

  3. Josh Taghon August 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    For the past year, I’ve been studying how to write fiction. I’ve learned quite a bit. In Feb. 2008 when I was a junior in high school, I started writing a novel that I finished about a year later. And then through about Aug. 2011, I’d written about 3 1/2 novels for this series. I had little time to work on it because I was on the college newspaper. I wrote a short story with a chapter in each issue. I started taking literature classes when I decided to go into English Education and learned quite a bit. Going to New York City for a journalism conference sparked the idea of turning my short story into a novel. I started that novel last summer, and I realized it was horrible, so I studied how to write fiction. I produced a better novel storyline–that’s what I’m working on right now. I dug into my old series I abandoned and thought of great ways to reincarnate it!

    So it proves that letting your stories sit for some time can help! 😀

    (sorry for the wall of text. That’s what happens when you don’t have a character limit like on Twitter.)

    • pfeatherstonehaugh August 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Don’t apologise, I love reading things like this! 🙂
      I just want to say how much I admire your professionalism! There are a lot of writers out there who read stories and think ‘I want to do that!’ and do it, simply because they can (by self-publishing) instead of actually working on perfecting their craft. Writing is something you can learn, which should only make you more excited to dive into the adventure that is Writing Fiction! I’m really happy that you take your writing seriously and recognising how good/bad you are is already the first step to becoming a GREAT writer.
      Don’t let anybody stop you from following your dream!

      GO YOU! *waves pom-poms*

      • Josh Taghon August 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

        Thanks! :3 I actually self-published a book back in 2010, but I removed it a while ago. The only good part of it was the cover. I hope to send my story to a publishing agent someday, but I need to practice first. I hope when I start teaching junior high and high school classes after I graduate in a couple years, I can learn from my day job, too.


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