Why Writers Abandon Novels

It would be dead to me for a reason: because it should be dead to everyone else. Oh yes, dead, most dead, deader than dead. - Joshua Ferris.  

Would you, could you, should you abandon a novel?  These initial questions popped into my head after reading a recent NYT article ' Why Do Writers Abandon Novels?'  I pondered this one long and hard, poured another glass of wine, and pondered a great deal more.  Here's what I came up with, Team-Stick-With-It vs. Team-Let-It-Go.  I'll let them duke things out amongst themselves, let me know which team you are batting for.  And, I mean that purely in regards to this post...

1.  You've invested so much blood, sweat and tears in your novel thus far, stick with it!
2.  It was a great concept 12 months ago, -stick with it!
3.  Ignore Little Miss Self-Doubter, stick with it!
4.  You're getting great feedback, -stick with it!
5.  You've already scoped out Books 2 and 3.  Um, like...yes, that could be true.
6.  You promised Great Aunt Ethel, a special dedication on the foreword, -stick with it!

1.  The other voices inside your head are so much stronger, let it go...
2.  You've lost that loving feeling, let it go...
3.  Some stories are for your eyes only, let it go...
4.  YA Paranormal is SO, like, 3 years ago.  Let.It.Go.
5.  You're already been two-timing on the novel with a new project... Let it go, gently.
6.  Great Aunt Ethel has lost her marbles, you shouldn't have promised her anyway.  Let it go.

For myself, I'm passionate about writing and I have never ever abandoned a story, in fact I go into Lara Croft ala mode, bungee-jumping-across-gargantuan-canyons-to save- an ancient manuscript.  No wait, not Lara, she's a Sissy...  Maybe more a Marine, that's right-I am Team-Blackhawk-No-Novel-Gets-Left-Behind, if there is life, we will rebuild it, if it's flat-lining, call in those Special Forces, aka your critique partners, sound out new beta readers, 'leave no stone unturned', you can finish it!  So, if you are having a dilemma as to keep or leave a novel in the making, my vote is, keep going, the satisfaction in finishing it, -would be a sweet, sweet reward.  And who the devil is Lara Croft anyway?

*Whispers*  Have you ever abandoned a novel?

A/N:  Happy Friday all!  Hope you are all well.  This week has flown, and I'm happy about that.  Plans for this weekend? I shall be celebrating dear friends birthday, more lunching and writing.  And, a great big dose of relaxation.  I like to keep at least one of the days unplanned, it makes me feel like I'm spontaneous... * laughs to self *  How about you?


  1. I'm having a major case of wanting to let a novel die. Like, really badly. I don't think I will....maybe. Ugh. I don't know.

  2. I'm actually struggling with this issue right now. However, the two other projects in my backbrain aren't fully formed and ready to launch yet. So, I keep telling myself I might as well continue to work on this one and see where it goes until one of the other two comes forward to take dominance - if that makes sense.

  3. I don't think I'd ever say I "abandoned" a novel...it's just put aside for a while (or maybe forever). That makes it easier for me to deal with the anguish.

  4. Yes. I have dumped a WiP. I wiped it off my computer memory and burned the written outlines and drawings.

    It's a gone as it can get.

    Didn't regret it, because Doorways sparked soon after.


  5. I've let a wip go (okay, more than one). It was a YA paranormal. Hard sell these days and I didn't think it was good enough. Besides, I found a way to recycle it (or at least part of it) into a YA contemporary novel. :D

  6. Oh I have several novels begun YEARS ago that will never leave the dark drawers of my file cabinet.

  7. I'm definitely a member of Team Stick With It.
    Happy Weekend.

  8. I have never abandoned full-length story! After all that effort, I'm seeing it through.

  9. Yes, I abandoned one - but only temporarily. I had to figure out the rest of the plot, which I did, so I will go back to it hopefully soon!

  10. I've abandoned a few. One I revised three times very thoroughly, but I still just wasn't feeling it. Good writing practice, though.

  11. No, never abandoned. Have temporarily shelved some, but because little muse won't let me let anything go and keeps giving me new ideas therefore I have around 15 to contend with. It isn't easy working on all of them simultaneously. So I jot things down here or there with working titles so I know how to label the notes. I'm a little crazy at times and am going to take a vacation to recharge next week to get back on track. :) Great post.

  12. As for your comment on being spontaneous - I would like to have a blank calendar and be totally spontaneous. I know it's impossible, but I wish it could be done.

    I will answer your question about abandoning a novel from the role of a reader rather than a writer. Yes, I sure can. If it does not grab my attention in the first three chapters, it's over. Now let me add that often I will go back, pick up the same book, and for who knows what reason - love it. Perhaps it is just the frame of mind you are in. And that may be applied to writers also. If you are tired of your novel, put it down and give it breathing room. Come back some time later and see if you feel the same. Maybe you will love it then also.

  13. Melissa, maybe stow it for a few months and dust off again? ;-)

    Dianne, totally hear you on this one. I've got SO many ideas for stories, all queued up ready to go. Good luck with yours!

    Andrea, good plan! ;-)

    Misha, love it!! Good to hear doorways sparked! ;-)

    Stina, great point, we can always recycle parts there of. ;-)

    Bish, I hear ya!!

    Carol, me too!! Hope you had a fab weekend!

    Alex, that's what I'm talkin' about dude! ;-)

    Melissa M, good to know that!

    Meredith, oh yes - great point too. Practise makes perfect right? ;-)

    Regina, enjoy your break, recharging is a good, good thing!

    Mya, thanks lovely. That's a great idea to look at a readers viewpoint. I know I've abandoned books that I can't finish reading, always it the voice that kills it.


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