Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Land of Misfit Stories

Like most writers, I have pages of short story and novel ideas.  I have another folder where I keep many of those stories that I've started, and for whatever reason, have stopped.  Reasons include: the characters just started to bore me, the plot didn't click, it wasn't high concept enough, or I fell out of love with my hero.

But kind of like those once loved toys, I can't seem to let my misfit stories go.  I keep thinking that maybe I can make them work at a later date.  Maybe I can resurrect some life into it.  Maybe I'll actually one day meet a unicorn or find a pot of gold--a girl can dream, right?

I have this one contemporary romance that I've been working on literally for three years, off and on.  I can't seem to shake the story from my mind.  There are parts of it that are, I believe, rather brilliant while other parts that are just plain boring.  But in short, it's not working and remains a misfit story. 

Do you suffer from this same affliction with your projects?  Can you let something go or do you keep beating yourself into submission until you get it right?

18 comments:

Joanna St. James said...

Okay since am a pen and paper kinda gal, its very easy for me to leave a WIP thats not coming and actually come back to it again. I always have a major WIP am working on and come rain or high water that WIP has to get done or I will throw a tantrum b4 I eventually give up. I look at my other WIPs as hobbies until they take centre stage.

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Joanna,

Hobbies? Hmmmm. Maybe that will help me to put them aside a little bit more willingly. Great tip!

Lia Bal said...

My brain is a bucket of ideas so I’m always starting something that doesn’t get finished. And yes, I refuse to give up on all of them. Now-a-days I discipline myself a little more. Even if I get a new idea for a brilliant story, I don’t write it. I write down the idea in my idea notebook, give it a temporary title, write down the title on a small sheet of paper, fold it up and throw it into a box. Eventually when I need to start a new project I just pull one out of a hat. That’s the only thing that stops me from writing 10 stories at once where none of them ever get finished.

Liz Fichera said...

Lia,

That is a very organized approach. I do something similar, although I'm not nearly as methodical as you! I like your "pull it out of the hat" approach.

KarenG said...

I had one and I incorporated it into a novel as a sub story. Got rid of it that way!

Lia Bal said...

The “pull it out of a hat” approach is the only way I could narrow it down to just one story to work on. I have about 40 ideas in my “hat” and half of them already have a few chapters to them because I don’t finish what I start. For me, it is very hard to choose just one idea out of 40.

Trisha said...

I have stories like that - not 40, yikes! ;-) But a lot.

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Karen,

Well, that's useful! Love it when we can recycle characters. I've done that too, especially the ones I can't let go.

Liz Fichera said...

Hey Trisha,

Great to see you here! Thanks for stopping by.

Lynda Young said...

I think I let too much go.. but I always keep a record of them :)

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Lynda!

Nice to meet you! Seriously, I wish I could be more like that. I start something and feel guilty when I don't finish it. Totally whacko.

Talli Roland said...

I do! There's one story that keeps coming back to me, over and over... I wrote the full novel but I was never happy with it and it keeps drifting into my mind!

Marianne Arkins said...

I never let stuff go completely. There must have been a reason I liked it in the first place ... so I mine it for the gems and leave the rest!

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Talli,

Sounds like you're having the exact same problem as me!

Liz Fichera said...

Hey, Marianne,

I need to get better at the "mining" part. I think I get too emotionally attached.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't give up on the misfits just yet. One day you may go back to them and craft a great story from the ideas. I took a story I'd written over 25 years ago and completely rewrote it - and later this month it will become my first book release. So you just never know!

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Alex!

That is cool! Way to stick with it! Impressive.

Judith Leger said...

Hi Liz,

Yep, I have a ton of those misfits too. Like you, I hold on to them in hopes of one day...bring to life on the page, forcefeed some brillience into their stories, and even maybe light a spark into them. But until I do, I'll hold them tight and probably never let them go. They're a part of me the same as any other of my works so every now and then I pull them out, wipe off the dust and try to fix the broken parts. Maybe one day...