When to trash that story idea that’s going no where….
When? Let’s see… when I waste a year on it.
This has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. An idea you want to write but just isn’t working. I have file cabinets full. I almost trashed Damage Control and started over because the plot would not come together. At present my idea for Max’s story caved on me and after reworking it several times, that got tucked in a box and purged from my mental hard drive. =) It’s still creeping in but it has to vanish before I can start over with a fresh idea.
You’ve worked on the plot for longer than a month. Yes a month. I reworked plot for a year so that’s chopping the ‘revision factor’ down. My difficulty was tying up a series I’d no intention of tying up when I started it.
Your critique group is tired of hearing it and fellow writers stop commenting on it. Ask yourself. am I ignoring advice that would change this plot and move it forward?
You can’t explain the plot in a couple sentences. Goal, motive and of course. That’s the pitch, people. The best one I’ve heard was 2 words, “Jurassic Shark.”
YOU are sick of it. If it’s a chore to work then it’s not you, it’s the story. If you can’t see the end of the tunnel, neither will the editor. Writers have to feel the characters and story and want to write it.
Or like me, the rarity that my editor passed away and her replacement considers me unworthy of her attention. That’s actually when I gave it up.
You have other stories you want to write but feel obligated to finish the last one. Unless you are under contract for it, don’t. Why waste time? and believe me if you don’t like it, the reader will know in spades.
If you’ve been writing one story for longer than a year(or like some I know, 15 years and never finishing) either trash the story, rework it to a new plot, or go back to writing classes because you don’t have the skills to know what the problem is exactly.
Not exactly sage advice but honest. I’ve been there and trust me, Being unemployed writer stinks.