Friday, November 18, 2011

A Tough Decision

I'm at that point: to trunk or not to trunk?

I've had The Boyfriend Plague read by several people now, and they have confirmed for me that the book just doesn't work.

I kind of knew that.

What I was writing changed as I wrote it and I think I threw too many different ideas in there.

I've been struggling all week to salvage it, but I've come to the conclusion that I need to either start again from the beginning, or just trunk it and move on.

This is a tough decision to make because I've spent almost 6 months on this book. Trunking it feels like a waste. But at the same time, I could work my butt off for another couple of months, rewrite the whole damn thing, and still end up with something that stinks.

So what do I do?

Do I shelve it temporarily and write something else? I kind of know if I do that, I'll never go back to it. I have 4 trunked novels already, and I think it's pretty unlikely I'll go back to any of them.

Do I bite the bullet and dive into the rewrite? I do have a spark of an idea on how to make that work, but the idea of doing it, rewriting 80 000 words feels daunting and not at all fun.

Or do I just admit I wrote a crappy book and move on? That one feels like giving up. And I hate that.

So, I'm asking for your advice. What would you do in this situation? Have you trunked novels that didn't work? Did you go back to them later?


  1. Oooh, that's a difficult and heart-breaking place to be. I've trunked one novel temporarily. I still think it's a good book, it just has issues. I might go back to it one day, because I do love it and believe in it, but right now I just don't know how to fix it.

    Do you love your novel? Would you just be fixing it to save yourself from feeling like you've wasted time, or is there something in there that you really believe in? I think it comes down to what you want to do and how you want to be spending your time right now.

  2. This is such a hard decision to make. I suppose it depends on whether you think the problems in it can be sorted out. Heartbreaking decision though.

  3. Maybe you should trunk it for now and move on. I would never completely give up on a project I loved and spent 6 months on writing. I trunked my first one until a day when I may drag it back out. This comment is just what I did and only you know what feels right.

  4. Is the idea something that you love? If so, maybe make the notes you are thinking of now, let it hibernate and go back to it when everything is starting to thaw.

    Did you just write the idea because it was the next idea bugging you to write? If so, it may not be worth going back to. But I wouldn't totally get rid of it.

    Maybe have a trunk spring cleaning day and see what happens :)

    Good luck!

  5. I say start new, but chip away at it in spare time. I'd hate for it never to see the light of say. Working on something new give you insporation.

  6. So first of all :-( #epicsadface

    I have yet to completely trunk something. Even books I haven't touched in years, I know they're there and that when they call my name I'll go back to them. But when I can't stand to look at something any more, especially if the thought of rewriting 80k words makes me ill, it's time to move on for the moment.

    It will still be there for you later.

  7. I guess this question is one I've never really dwelt on. If it doesn't feel right, if there is little passion left, if the thought of continuing isn't pleasing, then its time to move on. That DOESN'T mean that you should never go back to it. I'm a firm believer that as writers, we know. Deep down we know what we should be writing and when.

    Months down the road you'll be writing something else when BAM an idea hits that makes that previous WIP PERFECT! You'll HAVE to go back and rewrite it because it is the way the story is meant to be.

    Or you'll never get that and then at least you're already onto your next WIP.

    I have three manuscripts that I think deserve to be published...someday..eventually...some need more tweaking others I don't think need it at all. And when the time is right, I'll wrestle with them again.

    Every bit of writing we do should be cherished, because we're that much better, fuller, for it. It's not six months wasted. It's six months of growth.

  8. You know the weird thing? About ten minutes after writing this, it became clear in my mind what I need to do... I need to amalgamate two characters and lose one. Then I think (hope?) I can pull it together.

    I'm going to start attacking it tomorrow and see where I get to.

    Thanks for all the advice. I appreciate it.

  9. Oh Kate :( I'm sorry to hear this. I don't think anyone can really answer your question, only you can. How much do you love this story? Is it worth the effort? From the chapter I last read, it seems so to me, but I haven't read enough to really comment.

    I have a similar problem with a book I started to write a while ago. It just didn't work I don't think. It's kind of weird. I still have Johnny's to finish and book four to Truth Teller. I've kind of stepped away from all of them for a bit. I never like to think of them as trunked though, more sort of simmering :)

    Good luck with whatever you choose. I have every confidence in you.

  10. I'm sorry :(

    I think you need to do what you FEEL is right. No, not right, but where is your heart? Would you be rewriting just because you feel you should? Are you passionate about the story? Is it at all exciting to think of diving in again?

  11. I'm so glad you've gotten something figured out! (Just read your comment.) After querying and getting oodles of rejections on my first ever novel, I decided to pack it away. And now over a year later I'm excited because I can take parts that I loved from it and work it into my new NaNo WIP. So good luck tweaking, and if your new idea doesn't work, something else might come of it later on! :D

  12. You know what? I am excited to go back to it. I love my character and her unique way of seeing the world. I'm just a little sad because I think the only way I can make it work is to amalgamate her with another character who was actually my favorite supporting one. But, I guess I can hold onto him for another story.

    Thanks for all your thoughts, everyone. I will update you on progress as I make it.