Today I found this fascinating post by Victoria Grefer, on abandoning a novel: Crimson League.
In it, she suggests that abandoning a work-in-progress, at whatever stage, isn’t a complete waste of time and energy, because:
- You’ve Gained Experience
- You can recycle characters and ideas
- You can still show it to others and learn from their feedback.
Personally, I’m a finisher, generally. It may take me a damn long time, but I usually grit my teeth and get there in the end. I’m hoping that my next book out will actually be an anthology of short stories, which I have working away on reasonably diligently.
However, I’ve had one novel in progress for some time now (at least theoretically), but when I look back to when it was last saved…well, I did a little bit in June, but before that, it was (eek!) 2010! To use that old cliché, doesn’t time fly! I’m wondering how inspired I really am by the whole thing, really. Whether it is worth gritting those teeth, or whether I should just chuck this one in and move on to bigger and better things. I think that the basic premise is sound, but I’m not sure that I have the finesse to carry it off as it should be.
To give you some idea, it’s a sort of ghost story across time, based entirely in Australia. I’ve done a good bit of research into colonial attitudes and the way of life in about the 1880’s in rural Victoria, and I’m fairly happy with that part. The part set in the modern world I’m perhaps less enamoured of.
I’d really love to hear from you whether you have ever abandoned a novel, and how you felt about it then and now. Was it the right thing to do? Were you able to recycled characters, or did they all die a quiet death?