Letting a Story Go...

Sometimes, you just have to let a story go.

It's hard.

Believe me, it's really hard.

I've had to let go a majority of my stories. (At least for now) Some of which, I may revisit later, or use certain elements (or characters) I love. 

Why would you let go of a story?

Well, for me it's been:
  • Story has no plot.  The first 6 stories I wrote (and finished)  had no plot.
  • Major story flaws.  I have two stories where the fixes aren't small things.  I'd need to completely rip out most of the story and restructure it to it makes more sense to the reader as well as add in and take out POVs so the story works.
  • It's just not special enough.  Face it, in today's market stories have to be different.  My first YA, which I *love* just was too similar to everything else out there already. 
  • Just not into it.  I've started many stories I've never finished because the story just wasn't there or something not I wanted to write. 
But this is just my list.  All these stories have been ones I've been content to let go, perhaps for now, and perhaps forever.  Little things aren't going to fix these stories.  All these would need complete overhaul, and not just the story, but the world.  There are other things that I'd rather write right now. 

If a story isn't working, no matter how many times you've rewritten it, it might be best to set it aside for awhile.  If it sits quietly, let it.  If you just can't let it go, then you want to take a look at what you need to do to salvage it, which may or may not mean a complete ms makeover.

If you determine what you need to do, and still can't let the story go (and I'm grappling with this for another project of mine right now), then keep it and go for it, but remember, a quick fix might not do it. 

How to you determine if you should let a story go or if you continue to rework it?


erinjade said...

oh, that is a tough one. it's hard to let ANYTHING go when you've worked long and hard on it.
however, for me, things get trunked when i get bored with them. if i am not interested/enthused enough to do the revisions on a manuscript, i let it go.
you have to love that story enough to revise it with betas, with your agent and probably several times with your editor.
if i don't feel like i can spend two or three years with one story, i trunk it and strip it for parts.
....hmmm. i think this just gave me a blog post idea...

Suzanne Lazear said...

Can't wait to see your post! Thanks for stopping by.