Okay, so today we’re keeping it real and talking about our abandoned mss. You know, the ones we start with the best of intentions and then desert somewhere between 15 and 30K.

Or am I the only one who does this? Gosh, I hope I’m not the only one…I mean, I based this post on the assumption that everyone is as much of a freak as I am….


Oh well, I guess it’s too late to end this now.

So, about those mss…

Why do we abandon them? Is it a fear thing? A planning thing? Or something else entirely?

For me, the answer is easy….fear.

I freak out over something stupid and let myself get stuck. Maybe I read a book with too similar a premise. Or maybe I get stuck over a structure issue. Or maybe I just lose faith.

Whatever it is, I have files of unfinished mss.

And this year…this is the year I am pulling them out. I may decide they were “practice” and nothing more. Or, I may find that there is something worth working on.

Whatever I figure out, one thing is certain…no more abandoned mss. At least, not if my CPs have anything to say about it 😉

So, tell me about your story….do you write and run, abandoning things before they’re done? Why? And please tell me I am not the only one who does this…

Pretty please.


11 thoughts on “Progress? What Progress?

  1. ha! You KNOW I have a file full of these. For though, they usually get abandoned because an idea I like better at the moment comes along or I get busy with NF or real life and by the time I come back to it, another idea has taken over. I plan to revisit all of those manuscripts at some point….I still think they’d all make awesome stories. Just need to wait for the right time 🙂

  2. I have a few mss that I only wrote partway through. I have a couple others that are complete first drafts that I never finished editing. I don’t like to think about those, but I do need to revisit them and see if there is anything worth saving. Not exactly sure why I abandoned any of them. Maybe I lost interest. Maybe I got distracted by something new and shiny. Sometimes I think I just get scared of the amount of work it will take to make them into a complete novel. And I know sometimes I just get to thinking that the idea I thought was so awesome at the start will never sell – so why bother finishing it.

    Ah, the workings of a neurotic writer’s mind.

  3. fear… great point! I think having a writing partner you’re close with helps a lot. They can give you the feedback necessary for pushing past the 30k threshold. They can also tell you if you should even try and make it past the 30k threshold.

    My favorite piece of advice comes from my friend Heather who suggests busting out a first draft of 20-30k words. So, basically half your novel. Then you’ll know what pieces of the story feel most important to you and to the plot. I love it. It’s much more obtainable than 60k, and you get a feel for what type of story you are telling before you have to write the whole thing only to end up starting over again.

  4. I’ve mostly been working on one manuscript and revising it for years, so I don’t have much else done. But I do have about 1/2 of the sequel in a very rough draft that I probably won’t finish unless I sell the first one or at least try to work on something totally new. So no, you are definitely not alone.

  5. I have a lot of abandoned mss. Mostly, I think it’s because I lost inspiration or I realized they weren’t working. I think I only have one that I feel strongly about that I really want to rework. But it would require an entire rewrite and that’s intimidating (maybe that fear you talked about!). But I do hope if it’s fear that’s keeping you back that you fight through it. You have a lot of potential and skill in you. I know you can do it!

  6. Omigosh, I totally did this with a story. And my son keeps bugging me to get back to it because he thought it was the best thing ever. I keep telling him someday, but my heart just isn’t in that story anymore.

  7. Oh, I get stuck much earlier than 30 K. More like at 10K or so. I know it’s a wall, and I know it’s something I have to climb. For me, it’s because I don’t know my characters and/or their motivation.

    Get those files out girl! Push on through. I know you can. 🙂

  8. I used to abandon mss too. But I decided to take a stand on Doorways. Soon after that I also decided to go back to another time.

    So I think that along with fear, loss of perspective is another reason why we freak out and quit.


  9. I’m gonna hold your hand through this Christine! No more fear for you!

    As for me, YES. I have two manuscripts I’ve abandoned, one at about 30K and one at maybe 15-20. They are both on my TO DO list for this year. I’m determined that I will finish them this year.

  10. I generally take so long to come up with an idea that I see it through to the end…though I do fear I won’t have “enough” and will end up with many novellas. Somehow, I make it to full length mss tho…

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