Friday, December 3, 2010
Letting It Go
In a fit of boredom yesterday, I opened my Stories folder on my computer and took a stroll down Amnesia Lane. More specifically, I read over my NaNoWriMo attempt from 2005. Ok, more to the point, attempts three, four and five. Which might be considered totally separate books from the original because the story changed drastically.
Version five, the final incarnation is actually, somewhat, pretty decent. I think. But it only weighs in at 46K words. That's a novella.
I spent a couple of years massaging this book. Massaging, beating it into submission, pistol-whipping it, then banishing it to the dungeon where it has languished in writer purgatory for the last three years.
Five years is a long time. And I am still not entirely satisfied with said book. There are parts that are good. And parts that just plain suck. The ratio of good to suck is about 1 to 10. I don't know that I have it in me to balance that ratio.
So, here is my question: At what point do you let a manuscript or WIP go? When do you cut your losses and admit that you and your book are slow dancing in a burning room (to borrow that line from John Mayer)? You have invested time, blood, sweat and tears to making this thing work, but it still ain't workin'? When do you say good-bye?
Is it possible to come back to something after years (and more years), and projects when you as a writer have changed? Maybe learned a thing or two? Or are there books that just aren't meant to be written?
Being the stubborn biatch that I am, I don't know that I am ready to kick this book to the curb. Or am I just hanging on for sentimental reasons?
Any fellow wordslingers out there experienced this problem? If so, did you exile your book to the Island of Misfit Novels or did you give it one more go?