Monday, March 28, 2016

Sentiments After Trunking a Novel

Gargoyle
Flickr Credit: mrholle
Everything is bad.

Okay, no it’s not. That’s just my catchphrase when things “take a turn for the worse,” as we Oregon Trail fans might say. There is no scale or reason to the phrase; I just say it. Good book kills amazing characters? Everything is bad. Terrorism and hate crimes happen every day? Everything is bad. We are out of cheese? Everything is bad. …Deciding to trunk a novel?

Everything is bad.

I made my decision on Friday night. Notebook Spawn, which I’ve been in the process of editing since this summer, is done. Over. I’m not going to work on it anymore. At the time, it seemed like a good idea because it was late and I was tired—the relief that followed seemed like a good omen.

It was harder to stick to that decision when I finally moved the folder into the TRUNK file on my hard drive. It felt less good, then. If I gave it just a few more days… a few more attempts… then I wouldn’t have to give up.

It’s weird thinking that I have to commit to stop writing a novel, but I need to.

This novel doesn’t make me happy. I hate this sentence because it’s true. I’m certain that the edits I’ve made thus far to the novel were the best so far—looking back, I’m proud of the new quality I produced. I liked my writing, but not the novel itself. It was written with a sentiment I don’t feel and can’t support anymore, and since so much of the story is tied up in that sentiment, editing it kind of drags me down.

This was a “practice novel.” I wrote this because I figured that pretending to write a novel would help me be a “real writer” someday. Well, fun fact, if you actually write things you can’t pretend to be a writer—but that “practice-ness” feels glued to the story, and I want to write with the confidence that I am a writer, not that I’m going to be.

I can’t give it the attention it needs. I imagine that someday I’ll come back to this novel, but right now, I don’t have the time or energy to untangle the story and the characters from the aforementioned sentiments and practice-ness that could really make it awesome. I’m not doing myself or the novel any favors by pretending I’ll get to it tomorrow.

And that’s just it—there’s a lot rolled into this novel, and I’m not going to get to it for a while. I’ll be more productive and more happy working on something else for the time being—even though the reasons I just listed sound whiny and dumb-sounding whenever I reread them.

Don’t good writers stick it out ‘til the end of every draft? Don’t they not mope? Don’t they respect the fact that other people have put work in their stuff and see it through despite their feelings? Aren’t they stronger than general dissent?

Everything is bad. Everything is okay. Everything is I don’t know.

I’m keeping the trunk locked for now. Sometimes you have to be stronger than your urge to keep going, and work on something new and awesome despite what everyone else says. I don’t really know why all of this is; I just know it to be true. I’ll manage.


Have you ever trunked a novel partway through writing it? How did that make you feel?


14 comments :

  1. I guess I haven't long-term "trunked" something. I've decided to put works aside for months at a time to work on something else. I always feel like a quitter when I do it, which is something I hate feeling. Hang in there!

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    1. Yeah, I do not like to feel like a quitter, and yet, here we are. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

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  2. While I feel like saying "oh, I'm so sorry about your novel, blah blah blah" I would just like to say congratulations because you know how you feel and you know when you need a break. That's awesome because you know yourself and you know your writing, and that's the important thing. *applauds*

    I am sad that you've decided to put Notebook Spawn away, though, because I was pretty excited to see what kind of work you've put into it since I read it. But I am happier that you've made what seems to be the right decision. You might come back to it later and rewrite it. You might not. And that's ok.

    I think I've trunked The Creature of the Night? I've decided that after querying and getting nowhere that it was time to move on, but I still have plans to go back one day and try to figure out where I went wrong. I still love the story and the characters, but there's a time to stick it out and there's a time to move on. One of the characters needs to change race and there needs to be less staring and more science, but until I get around to it I'm happy with it sitting on my computer, collecting dust.

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    1. Aw, thanks. I do try to keep my self-awareness up most of the time, ha. Still, I'm glad to have made that decision.

      Yeah, I think one of the hard parts was knowing that other people put a lot of work into reading that WIP too, and now that work is kind of for nothing. But I guess that is the way it goes.

      Well, there's no harm in trunking things for a while. That's fine that you too are taking a break, though! You can return to it as a stronger writer and make it even more what you'd like it to be!

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  3. Wow, what a big decision. I've "trunked" a novel before and it's so hard. When you've put so much time and feeling into a work, it's hard to recognize that it's not going where you want it to. It almost feels like giving up, but it's not. It's actually a very mature step to take as a writer.

    Good luck moving forward! I hope you feel the weight lifted and that you can use the time to pursue something that means more to you.

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    1. Yeah... It is hard. And it doesn't feel mature at all, but still, it is kind of a relief to be back on track with a novel I'm more excited and emotionally engaged with!

      Thank you for your encouragement, Sunny!

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  4. I've trunked tons of novels and stories, especially when I was younger, and even though one of the most common bits of writing advice is to finish everything you start, sometimes it's better to just let the project go. Especially if you've changed so much that you can't really feel whatever it was that made you love the idea in the first place. It happens, and I don't think it's a bad thing, though it's frustrating and discouraging and hard. But it can also be wonderful--now you're free to start up a project you really do love!

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    1. Yeah, it's hard because "real writers never quit" except for when they do. :P And you're exactly right. It was hard to give up, but now that I'm working on something else, I am happy to be back at it again! :)

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  5. Yesss. VERY relatable. Although, tbh, I've only ever quit one novel halfway through and I ENTIRELY regret it. :( It was the end of my 7-book fantasy series that I'd been writing since I was 14 (!!) and I was changing and growing and basically I'd moved beyond what I needed to do to finish that novel. If that even makes sense. I needed to start the eNTIRE series from scratch. So I did, but I also didn't finish the 7th book and GAH I WISH I HAD. Because I've moved on as a writer and I probably won't get back to that series for a long long time. Ahem. But anyway. xD That's the only novel I haven't finished! I have MANY novels that I've "trunked" in the sense that I don't ever plan to rewrite them. XD

    But it's all a learning thing! You learnt from that novel so it's not wasted. And it's not deleted. You can go back to it if you want someday. DON'T FEEL TOO DOWN. *gives you cake*

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    1. Aw, that is too bad. Still, if you'd end up rewriting an entire series, who's to say that the series would still end that way, anyway? Plus, it is okay to grow over as a writer. And that is kind of fortunate, to have novels you never plan to rewrite. It is not something I myself have, lol.

      THANK YOU FOR THE CAKE. *noms* It helps. :)

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  6. I have. And whilst it made me feel sad for quite some time and from time to time I still get bouts of "But if I hadn't then maybe's" in the long run, it was the right thing for me to do. There are other things in life that I decided to rather pursue and so far, despite those other things being harder and taking up more time, I don't regret them. Writing is something I will always be able to do. The more I evolve, the better my writing will become, because the more experiences I will be able to pull from. So don't worry about it. Save the project on a CD and put it in a box. Focus on something else. Live a little. And if you feel like you want to finish it a few years down the road... do it.
    I have my first semi-novel on a CD. It's been 6-7 years since I deleted it from the devices I'm using, and despite sometimes thinking about it, I haven't felt the urge to go back and re-write it. I realise some mistakes I made, and whilst I would still write the same scenes now, just with a more refined vocabulary, I do see why some scenes were controversial even then... I have a more critical eye now. And that's a good thing.
    So don't feel bad about throwing it out. It may be just what you need to move on to greater things. :)

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    1. That is true. It is not like I am a biker who threw away her bike and cannot bike anymore. My ability to write is still intact! Putting it away in a box, though... I like the physicality of that. I'll have to consider it for the future. :)

      That is cool that you did that. Not just keeping it and making a physical separation, but also moving on. I like that a lot. And thanks for your thoughts! Hopefully, moving on will be better for me, too.

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  7. Ah, I know that feeling! It's hard and it sucks, but if it's the right decision, it'll definitely make you happier and the story better if/when you come back to it. :)
    BTW, since this comment is so late, how are you doing with this?

    Also, OREGON TRAIL. I used to play that all the time.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    1. Yes, it was hard. But, so far so good as I'm working on my current WIP! I think it's turning out to be a lot better, although I don't know if it's the kind of thing I'd want people to read, lol.

      YES! I loved that game. <3

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