Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

My work-in-progress (WIP) is a lot like my husband.  I know its quirks, secrets, likes, dislikes, and skeletons.  The only difference is that I usually spend way more time with my WIP and I haven't figured out how to get the WIP to make coffee each morning which, I figure, is the least it could do.
But here's the thing about WIPs--even the ones that aren't going so well.  It's always hard to call it quits, at least for me.  When your fingers are clicking merrily along the keyboard, life is good.  There's nothing you wouldn't do for your WIP.  You want to spend every waking moment with it, getting to know it better, bringing it to life.

But what about when the WIP is a bad houseguest?  And needs a defibrillator?

I started writing what I thought was a brilliant short story in December in addition to another young adult novel that I totally love.  Sometimes I like to work on two WIPs at once; it kind of keeps my mind sharper for some reason even if you'd think the opposite would be true.  But that's just how I roll, writing-wise.

And now January is almost half-over and I'm sick of that short story that I thought was so brilliant.  I just can't get it to work.  I'm ready to tell Mr. WIP to pack its things and be on its way.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out and all that.  But unfortunately there's always this gnawing voice in the back of my mind that taunts, "Finish me, finish me, finish me!"  I hate not finishing what I've started and that goes for just about everything.  It's a total sickness.

But sometimes you just have to hit Delete and be done with it.  Some unfinished stories I do save, and I have tons of those too.  This one, I think will meet my delete key.  I need to get it out of my head.  If I can't get into my story, why would a reader?

What do you do with your misfit stories?  Save or delete?

17 comments:

Áine Tierney said...

Oh save it! You might have taken a wrong turn with the plot - it could just have to sit there for a while. I hate when I'll the excitement of starting something turns into frustration, but maybe you just need to sit on it. Best of luck!

Heather M. Gardner said...

A few years ago I would have said that I would delete it. It would stay in my head somewhere and I would find it if I needed it. Not so much anymore. My brain is like a house with a hoarder living in it and I'm lucky if I can find my way through let alone something specific. File it neatly away somewhere. You just never know.
Great post.

Talei said...

Great question! And I love this post. I save in the edits file for later. I can't help myself. You just never know, one day you may pull out Mr WIP later on down the line and you may love him again. So I'd save, but thats just me. If he has to go, he has to go. ;)

KarenG said...

I had a mystery idea that I outlined. It would have made a fine novel, but I realized I didn't want to write it. So I ended up incorporating it into my current novel-in-editing, as a kind of side story. It enriches my novel and satisfies my desire to get that "story" out there, without having to write it into an entire novel of its own. This way nothing is really lost ever.

gideon 86 said...

I would save it. I wrote half a novel to find out that at some point I have to change the whole thing. But there was so amazing writing in it.

Keep it... you might be able to use some of that brilliant writing that you loved when your first started it.

Michael

Sherri said...

I'm still at the save, maybe someday it'll work, stage :)

M Pax said...

I would save it as some flash of inspiration may come along. Usually it does if I wait for it. Some take longer than others.

Nas Dean said...

Great learning experience for me from the post and the comments. Thank you Liz and thanks to all friends!

Liz Fichera said...

Glad to see that I'm not the only one who struggles with these pesky houseguests!

Donna Cummings said...

Definitely save it -- it just may need to be a project for a later time, when you have a different perspective. It was good practice to work on it now, but this may not be its time. :)

Angelina Rain said...

I never delete. I almost deleted “Intimate Healing”, good thing I didn’t as I got a contract offer less than 24 hours after submitting it. But I hear you about giving up on a story. I started writing a romantic suspense in November and just can’t seem to move forward with it. Eventually, I put it aside and started something new. I noticed that lately I’ve been reading a lot of erotica and paranormal and it seems to be the stuff I find easiest to write at the moment. I guess when I’m ready to pick up my romantic suspense again, I will start surrounding myself with suspense by reading it.

Marianne Arkins said...

Definitely save it. At some point, you'll realize where you went wrong and why "fabulous story" turned into "I hate this story".

There's a reason you loved it... you just need to find that reason.

Pk Hrezo said...

Well I just refuse to believe anything I write is a misfit. lol. That is, until after I finish writing it. Sometimes a story just has to get out so it will leave you alone. :)

Maria Zannini said...

I always save mine. I know they'll be reincarnated in another story.

JB Lynn said...

I've done both.

Sometimes I feel that deleting it will free me of all the baggage that comes with knowing I've got an unfinished piece, that failed to live up to its promise, hanging over me.

Other times I save it because there "might" be something worth revisiting at a later time.

Liz Fichera said...

Well, the votes are in and "save" the irritating houseguest is definitely winning! Thanks, all.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Save. In even the most hopeless cause there may be a nugget of something worth reclaiming.