During December I roughly mapped out my writing plans on a wall planner. Realistically I probably haven’t left nearly enough time for some of the things I’ve put on there, but at least I’ve got something down.
I allocated the first week of January to rereading a manuscript I’d abandoned sometime during 2020 with the idea of spending the rest of January finishing off the first draft. I think it was about 75% of the way there. By last weekend I still hadn’t even finished reading it through, much less adding to it. But during the time that I had spent reading it I’d had a nasty niggle building again at the back of my mind. The same niggle that most likely caused me to stop work on it before. You see, I wasn’t quite sure where it fit in.
To date I have written The Grayson Trilogy, a series of mysterious and romantic adventure stories, and The Ross Duology which is much the same but adds crime into the mix. The next series, should it ever come off, is darker in tone and will either fit into the mystery thriller or psychological thriller genres.
This standalone that I was going to finish off in January I thought I might publish later this year as a kind of filling-the-gap book until the series was closer to completion, and that would make perfect sense if it was also bridging the gap between genres, but it isn’t. It’s women’s fiction. There’s no mystery, no suspense, no crime. There is some emotional turbulence between people because of someone doing the wrong thing. That’s about as wild as it gets.
It won’t bridge the gap between the series, if anything it will widen it, and if someone comes to this book first then they are going to get a shock if they then read any of my others.
I have been going to and fro on this manuscript for months, literally months. I’ve been completely undecided as to what to do with it. Because I like the story, I really do. I like the characters, the setting and I was enjoying writing it. And… and this is the most troubling thing, I really, really hate having to leave behind all those words. However, deep down I think I knew it made no sense to spend all that time finishing it and then all the expense publishing it when it was only ever going to confuse readers. The new series will be enough of a jump for them already.
Anyway, last weekend, completely out of the blue, my mind was suddenly made up and I decided I was going to abandon it, again. Only this time with no plan to return to it – unless I can come up with some dastardly twist which would change the whole thing. All those months of faffing around on it and then there it was, decision made. Which was quite a relief. I knew it was the right decision the moment I made it, it had just taken me an awfully long time to get there.
So, 45,000 words have been thrown aside and I have moved onto mapping out the third book in my series, which was actually February’s task so I’m ahead of schedule, and it’s not often I ever get to say that!
How about you? Do you have a hard drive littered with abandoned projects? Have you ever said goodbye to a large piece of work because it simply wasn’t right? I hope it’s not just me.
I really sympathise with your painful decision. I’m in the middle of the last book in my series and I’ve been paralysed with doubt.
But I think you might come back to your 45k words again. If it’s a good story and you like the characters, it might still find its audience. And I know of several writers who do different genres under a slightly (or completely) different name.
For now, congratulations on being ahead of schedule!
Oh, if doubt is paralysing a writer of your calibre, Barb, then I don’t feel so bad. Thanks! Never say never. At least it’s there if I ever want to revisit.
BTW, I hope I’m on your list of ARC readers? I emailed a while ago but feel it might have gone astray.
Hard, hard! I agree with you, though. Readers know what they expect from you, and they might think ‘is that it?’ if the book contains no dark thrilling bits!
I am writing the last of my dystopian/post apoc books for a while as I don’t have anything new to say, right now, once I have finished Megacity (Book 3 after Hope and Wasteland). But as The Visitor combined the post apoc and the murder mystery/psych thriller type bit of my books, I have decided to go with the ‘just psych thriller’ bit for my next one – hoping that TV will bridge the gap!!!! Cross fingers…!!
Maybe one day you could keep the story but add in a bit of dark stuff to give it more oomph?
That sounds like you’ve bridged the gap well there, T. I would like to use the story in the future but, like you say, add a twisty bit to it to make it fit, otherwise you’re quite right it will be one of those books where readers are wondering when they are ever going to get to the thrilling bit. I’ve been in that position and I’m really not a fan of it. Also looking forward to going on holiday (cross fingers!) this year so I can have a catch up blitz on your books. 🙂