Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Great Unfinished Novel #IWSG

It's hard to believe it's November already. Time is slipping away at a rapid pace. For many writers it's NaNoWriMo time. Not for me. Not this year. While I am working on a story that would have benefited from the intense November writing challenge, I just can't take on another pressure. And I'm ok with that.

This month's IWSG optional question is, Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project?

I have taken the challenge three times and reached the 50 000 word goal each time. However, I 'finished' only two of those projects.  That is, I got to the end of the stories and even went through the rewriting/editing stage. They read like real novels. Gasp. Am I completely happy with them? Not so much. They need more work. No longer the spring chicken beginner writer, I learned more as each year passed and came to realise that my old writing could be better, the characters could be more interesting, the structure could use an overhaul. The longer I hold on to those early novels, the more doubt I pour over them. What I really need to do is let them go. What does that mean? Either I need to push them aside and call them a great learning experience, or the better option: I need to complete them and send them out into the world.

If only I had more time. Focus might help a little too.

How about you? How many finished/unfinished writing projects do you have lying around? How many do you hope to get your sticky hands on again for another rewrite?

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65 comments:

  1. Its hard to pour o much energy into a project and then let it go. I have more unfinished projects than finished. My attention span just isn't what it was five years ago.

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    1. Yep I can relate. My attention span has taken a hit in the last year due to extenuating circumstances. All I can do is take it one day at a time, one step at a time and not be too hard on myself.

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  2. I have so many unfinished projects that I've had to let go. It's hard, but I look at each of them as a beneficial learning experience. I wouldn't be the writer I am today without them.

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    1. I'm a firm believer that no writing is wasted writing.

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  3. Hi Lynda - well done on the book you have published ... but all writing is there to be hauled out and given an update ... enjoy November without NaNo .. cheers Hilary

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  4. That's the trouble with older work. We're so much better now. It would take a complete overhaul to make those older stories work. (Which I have done once.)

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    1. One of my past novels need that major overhaul. I just can't let it go and hope one day I'm up for the challenge because the story (I think) is worth it.

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  5. Hi,
    Great insight. One of the reasons that I'm not participating in NaNo is because I want to get the three manuscripts I've already written in NaNo revised and sent out.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  6. I never did NaNo but I have an old manuscript that I worked on for years trying to get right. For now, I had to let it go.

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    1. Sometimes they are like that so that other, newer ideas can blossom.

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  7. I've never had the time to write a NaNo project. But I do have plenty of half finished stories lying around.

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    1. I'm sure they all whisper sweet nothings to you in the hope of getting your attention again ;)

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  8. The first NaNo novel I wrote was also the first novel I wrote, so it stank. I feel no shame in saying that. Actually, I’m kind of proud to be able to say that. From what I’ve read, every successful author has a first novel that was awful. Not their debut novel, mind you. That’s usually their fourth or fifth novel written. Each book we write is a learning experience. Each finished story helps us grow. Thanks for the post, and happy writing to you!

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    1. I'm impressed you took on the NaNo challenge for your first novel. And yes, the more we write, the more we improve.

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  9. I have two I've finished and queried and now sit in drawers. I have a few I started early on and were great learning experiences but are too flawed to complete. I have some that are ideas jotted down and maybe a few scenes but now is not the right time for. I keep those around because it might be the right time later.

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    1. Some stories demand a specific timing. We need to be in the right place to be able to tackle them.

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  10. I'm not really into NaNo, although I admire those who have the stamina to do so. Hope all is well with you, Lynda. Take care.

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    1. NaNo is definitely a challenge. Thanks, Nicola.

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  11. Yep. The older stuff I cringe at a bit, as we grow and know more. But let them go into the world so we can see the difference.

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    1. Stories never reach their full potential until they are shared...even if they have that cringe factor.

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  12. I think it would be hard to let go of something you put so much work into, but I can see how it might be necessary at times.

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    1. I have two non-NaNo novels (my first novels) that are firmly put away, never to be seen again except by my own eyes if I want encouragement that, yes, I have improved.

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  13. I recently read where a writer said 80/20 because perfect will never arrive. The secret to my productive vlogbrother Hank and John Green. https://youtu.be/1LAhHDEtTD0

    It was a good video.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. That's why I still haven't packed away some of my past novels yet. I won't reach perfection, but I'm sure someone will enjoy the stories.

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  14. I've never entered NaNo because this is the busiest time of the year for me. As to previous books, I have three and a half in the drawer. One I've drawn extensively from for various other projects. Not word for word but my same thoughts in a new story. Another one is a story I still want to write, but it won't be in that same form. I also think I have more growing as a writer to do before I'm ready to tackle it. The other one? Who knows. It's probably destined to remain in the drawer for eternity.

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    1. I don't think we ever stop growing as writers. I have a similar story where I don't feel I'm ready yet to tackle it.

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  15. Doing NaNo once would be a challenge. Doing it twice a double challenge. Congrats, Lynda.

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  16. No matter what you do with them, one thing's for sure: it's all great learning experience. You wouldn't be where you are today if you hadn't written those books.

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  17. I started a new project with NaNoWriMo, have two unfinished projects sitting around, waiting patiently, and have two more old, very old first drafts that should be shredded. I often start NaNoWriMo, but so far have only reached the 50,000 goal one time. That novel is one of those waiting patiently for revision.

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    1. Even if we don't reach the goal, NaNo can still help get us started and give us focus.

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  18. I'm afraid most of my wins are unlikely to see daylight anytime soon and I'm good with that. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Being comfortable with where you are at is important.

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  19. Hi, Lynda! I don't dare take on NaNo, especially at this time of year! I have two unfinished writing projects, a memoir and a novel. I'm contemplating on trying a NaNo-like push in December on my memoir. We shall see. Time,focus ~ That elusive duo! You said it: Complete them and send them out into the world. Good luck!

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    1. Good luck for December and getting that focus to finish your memoir. And thanks :)

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  20. Hi Lyn! I have about 5 unfinished novels thanks to NaNo. Some are good ideas. The first couple I comfort myself by saying the best way to learn writing craft is to write (and eternally edit at times). The last couple of years, I use the month of November to work every day on my current project, which is not unlike what i do anyway.

    I hope things are progressing well on the collaborative project.

    I didn't post for the IWSG again.

    Denise :-)

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    1. I agree that writing, and continuing to write, is important to improve our craft. Best wishes on your current project.

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  21. I have about 4-5 unfinished novels, and I have one slushie novel that I turned into two thirds of s trilogy.

    As for NaNo, I think it's much ado about nothing. Not gonna stress over trying to crank out a novel in one month that will never see the light of day.

    I Are Writer!

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    1. lol, a 'slushie' novel. Love the description. It's great you got it to almost a trilogy. Best wishes for your writing.

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  22. So many unfinished manuscripts, so little time... My one try at NaNo convinced me that it didn't fit my writing style. Maybe one day, when I'm more experienced, I'll try it again, but definitely not now. Congratulations on hitting 50k each time.

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    1. I agree, NaNo is not for everyone. And that's ok.

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  23. I've let a few go - the ones I know need too much work. I do have several others I'm still hanging on to - and hoping to find that time :)

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    1. Ah yes, there is never enough time no matter how much we are given.

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  24. I've lost count of my unfinished projects, but maybe that's better. :) And we're not even counting the lists of writing ideas...Happy weekend!

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  25. I have let a few go because I realized the weren't working. The idea was great but the plot, well, uh, it was missing. LOL

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  26. I always have more than one project on the go at once, but I generally finish most of them eventually.

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  27. I have a few unfinished projects lying around, but I'm getting ready to take one of them up again. It feels like the right time. Some things probably should be let go. And others seem to need time and distance to fall into place. We'll see how it goes this time around. I'm impressed that you finished two books during NaNo writing months. I've never been able to meet that challenge. Well done.

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    1. Time and distance are often very important for a story. Best wishes for tackling your unfinished project.

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  28. NaNo isn't for everyone and that's okay.
    I've been reevaluating my old stories as well. Some of them will get rewrites, some will remain as they are, some will be unpublished and tucked away. That's the life of a published story.

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  29. LOL! How many unfinished writing projects that HAVEN'T been published... I don't know that I can even count. Are you talking pieces that are over 20K words or just all together? I've got at least 30 short stories that could be published now. Why haven't they? I can't decide if I want to do an anthology of my own work, or farm them out to publishers. All together, we're talking like 80 stories, the majority of which are novels in the making. Over 20K? I'm counting 14. Most of those are full manuscripts just waiting revision. I think this is why I'm always wishing my time stopper was functional. =) I don't know about you, but I found that NaNo left me with books that needed more revision than if I'd just taken my time to begin with.

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    1. Yep, NaNo can be like that, especially if you don't do a bunch of planning before NaNo starts.

      And wow, that's a lot of stories!! Yeah, it's always hard to know exactly what to do with them. So many options!! Just make sure they don't stay in a drawer forever!

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  30. Hi Lynda. Time and focus. Sure. Two things that elude me. But stay with it and eventually the time and focus, even it it is a little here and a little there, adds up into something significant that you can use.

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  31. Yes, winning NaNo is one thing, but doing something serviceable with the resulting manuscript is something else entirely! It is all good practice, though.

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    1. As I often say, no writing is wasted writing.

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  32. It's really hard to let a project go! (Yep, I have those novels.) Also difficult to know whether something needs a major overhaul or just a gentle pat on its way to the Shelved folder. I guess it just depends on if there's a spark that still calls to you, some core bit of nifty-ness that makes you want to shine it up and present it to the world. :o)

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    1. Oddly enough an old ms called me from the shelved folder and it turns out it isn't as bad as I had thought, lol.

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  33. I greatly respect NaNoWriMo, but it never works for me. November is a crazy enough month as it is:)

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.