Monday, 5 September 2011

Why Doesn't My Story Work?

So after completing my (still hopeful) final draft of my novel, I decided to give myself a well deserved break. Then I realised that meant I had free time, and got me thinking. My eyes wondered over to the countless notebooks, and I started to go over each story in my mind. And I couldn't get one of them out my head, it was shouting at me the loudest, begging me to come back.

A few months ago, during the time I was quite ill, I got to thinking about a story. One line popped into my head, and quickly after that the characters and their tale came to me very powerfully and strongly. I knew I had to write it. So I began, getting each of their details down while I could.

I managed to complete ¾s of it before I got stuck. I wouldn't call it writers block, but I couldn't move on and had to abandon it before I fell out of love with it.

Then I went on to do the revision of my other novel, feeling refreshed and excited, yet also ready to be somewhat brutal about the work.

Once I'd finished I spent these past weeks doing more research on querying/getting published. And during this research I stumbled across many authors blogs and interviews which I hadn't seen before, and I read a great piece of advice. (I can't remember the exact location of it, so if you know who said it please let me know.)

The author said she didn't believe in writers block. She said that she feels it means something has gone wrong, so go back to the place where you got stuck and fix it from there.

This immediately made me think of the novel I abandoned deeply upset. I thought about what made me so cross with it, and I realised; the structure was wrong. It wasn't working, it wasn't conveying the story I wanted.

That's why I made the tough decision to change the structure of the book, but I have not lost any of the original story. Now I'm once again excited to be writing about these characters I love.

I often read in authors interviews and such about how their novels started as one thing, and ended up with something completely different as the final product.

I always thought that must be such a hard decision to make. However after going through my own experience I realise that if it is for the better, then it must be done.


  1. Glad that you're excited about writing again :)

  2. Its great when you can get back on track with an old story! I know I have loads of unfinished ones tucked away.
    Also I saw your tweet where you said you'd reserved a copy of Shadows of the moon? I actually have a brand new copy spare if you want it? (my friend at waterstones got me a signed copy but didnt tell me until after I'd brought the book myself). Any way its yours if you want it? It can be my Random act of kindness for this month :)