I haven't been able to write fiction that much lately, partly because I've been immersed in my other book: my dissertation, which might as well be titled The Book That Will Help Cure Insomnia or I Can Over-Analyze That Book in Five Footnotes.
I did write drafts for two novels. I say "drafts" because neither of them have been fully revised yet. I know how I'm going to revise the first one, but I've been struggling with the second one on the few occasions I have had time to work on it. I've started to wonder if I should just scrap that entire manuscript and focus on the first one, and then start another story later.
It's hard for me to just walk away from that second manuscript, though. I really like the characters, and there are several pages that I'm proud of. A part of me thinks that if I give up on the story now, I'll go into withdrawal, like the time I tried to give up coffee but only made it a few days before I ran with open arms to the nearest Starbucks and practically shrieked, "I don't care what kind of coffee you give me. Just give me the BIGGEST ONE with the MOST CAFFEINE!" (I wish I could say I am making that up. Giving up caffeine would be like saying that I'm going to retire early, and just the thought of not working AT ALL made me throw up in my mouth a little. What would I DO if I retired? RELAX? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)
Even though I do like several parts of this story, there are other parts that don't feel right or ring true. I could just take out the parts that don't work, or maybe I really could throw out the manuscript altogether. I also considered keeping at least some of the characters and putting them in a new story that I've been thinking about for a while now.
Maybe one reason I'm struggling with what to do is because even though I've left some stories unfinished in the past, it's hard to give up on this one. I've been working on it for a long time. I don't like the idea of quitting, partly because I'm a workaholic. On the other hand, I have quit jobs before, like my job at the Tourist Trap. But that was partly because if I worked there a day longer I just might have ended up hurling souvenirs at people. It's easy to quit a job that you hate. It's not so easy to give up on something that's important to you.
But I know that even if I do give up on this manuscript, that doesn't mean I'm giving up on writing altogether. If I tried to do that, I really WOULD go into withdrawal, and then the baristas at Starbucks would freak out and run away screaming at the sight of me.
What about you? Have you ever stopped working on a manuscript? What makes you decide whether to keep working on it or move on to another story?
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