I made a tough decision last week.
After more than two years of plotting and a year of writing, editing and querying, I decided to set aside my first (and to date only) completed novel. I've been hinting that this day might come, and last week, I made the decision. Sometimes, you have to throw in the towel and try something else.
Why? It comes down to this: This book still needs a lot of work. The biggest issues are:
• The pacing is off (the beginning is too slow, the ending is too fast).
• The story loses its focus. I don't think I realized until after I tried to sell it exactly what this book is about.
• I got messy with verb tenses, mixing between past and present when it should be past.
• I need to expand the vocabulary.
• It's written in first person, but I wonder if it should be told in third.
I still believe it is a good story. It just hasn't been told the way I want it. I am too frustrated with it right now to do any good for it. The frustration prevents me from working, and I need to move on for my own sanity. It is the right choice for me for now.
I hope I will come back to it, but it's hard to say when or if I will. I'm reminded of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken."
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
It's not that I doubt I will return. I am realistic enough, though, to know not every story will be told. I am at a fork in the road. I can retrace my steps and go back, or I can take another paths. I want to try another path.
This process was amazing. I have no regrets and learned a lot. I know more about the writing and editing process. I learned about publishing and networking.
The most important lesson: I can do it. I have it in me to sit down and write a full-length book.