Over the last twelve months I have started and abandoned two manuscripts and re-started a third.
The two abandoned projects amount to about ten months’ worth of work, so a not insignificant amount of time and effort. But was it all wasted?
Well, when you have nothing publishable at the end of all that time, it can feel like a lot of wasted effort, but on the other hand I think it’s just part of the writing process, which is not necessarily a straight path over flat land with a clear destination in view. If only.
I stopped working on those two projects for various reasons such as: losing interest; thinking that the plot was too trite; thinking that the plot was overly complex; and just generally losing confidence in the whole idea. But in both cases I did a lot of research into interesting subjects and maybe one day I’ll use that research in other books.
The project I’m now working on is the third or fourth attempt at this particular project (I do go back to things!), all previous attempts having failed essentially due to lack of a concrete plot. I’ll try not to make that mistake again, although I can’t promise ;). Previously, I had a setting and some characters, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to nail down a firm plot, otherwise you’re drifting at sea with no shore in sight, and that gets unnerving after a while.
However, I’m now eight weeks in and I have 40,000 words, so I consider that a success. I’m also determined to finish this one. There, I’ve said it. So now I’ll have to put my money where my mouth is!