I really, really tried. My hardest, my bestest.
One night last month, I was working on my middle-grade mystery novel. And oh dear, it was not fun. Not one bit.
First sign its time to shelve your novel? Definitively when you’re not having fun anymore.
My favorite creative writing teacher often said: taking writing seriously has to go together with fun (or something like that). If you are not enjoying writing a novel, a short story, a script even, it will show.
It’s all in the outline
I re-outlined the novel at least five times. I got to a point where I tossed the 40K words draft I had going and started over. Still, the word count was depressingly low, even though I spent hours writing. I was re-writing every sentence, many, many times over, not satisfied with anything.
Yep, you guessed right! The second sign its time to shelve that WIP of yours is: when nothing seems to work with your story, no matter how hard you try to make it work.
The outlined is good. The characters are fun. The plot twist, without being a world-changing idea, is very thrilling. Everything seems to be there. Yet, even though it was hard to admit, mainly because it feels like a big huge failure (not to mention two month wasted), nothing works with that book.
It is never easy, but still
Funny thing about that book though: I was sooo sure it would be easy-peasy, a walk-in the park, cruising on the writing flow kind of a novel. After all, it was based on an old perfect British tv show and my own childhood memories. I was owning this. It would be fast to write, it would be good to read. This one would be published, for sure.
After a while, it felt more and more like a failure. I felt more and more like an incompetent ridiculous old wannabe writer incapable of writing an « easy » novel.
Third sign its time to shelve your novel is when your start feeling like the s******** writer that has ever roamed the surface of this good old planet Earth.
It’s not a good place to be, rock-bottomed. Especially when you’re supposed to be writing, not only to have fun or get away from that 9 to 5 oh-so-depressing/bullied-at job (me, two years ago), but also to feel good.
Darn, if you’re writing about dragons, ghost, impossible romance or what have you, you’re better off feeling good about it.
I am shelving this middle-grade mystery novel, for now. Time to tackle those others WIP’s.
Until next time!