Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Start Up, Shut Down, and Starting Over Again From Scratch

Have you ever gotten so far into a story, even when you have everything outlined just so and the characters and setting laid out…just to hit the wall and then something in the back of your mind makes you change course and start a whole new thing?

I’m about ten pages into a short piece about a werewolf, and it was going great until I realized I could make it stronger in some areas…and those areas are pretty much constituting to a near total rewrite and almost ditching the original map I’d set for a different plot that sounds more engaging to the reader. I’ll likely still keep the original idea separate since it was shaping up to be a great body horror story but do you sometimes find it annoying to have to rebuild a story from scratch once you make that judgment call on its merits, even when you’re somewhere in the 40,000 word range?

Oh my gosh! D: That happens all the time! I have like seven different stories going because I can’t focus on one story at a time.

Yep. I’ve written entire chapters to stories I’ve just scrapped because a better idea came along. They now sit in limbo… never to be a part of anything :frowning:

It’s sad in a way, feels like a waste of time, but you have to go with your gut and write what you want to write.

I’ve dropped stories 40k words in because they just didn’t work out. Everyone once in a great while-- not often-- I come back years later and salvage it.

That happened to me recently with a SF-horror story I was writing. I might say it happened TWICE in the story, even.

I was about a third of the way through when I realized the story wasn’t as strong as it could be, so I started rewriting. Then, about halfway through, I realized that I still wasn’t sure I was making it frightening enough, and while I had the end figured out, there was a blank space in my outline that I couldn’t devise how to jump that gap, so I set it aside.

I still like the idea, but I need to work those troublesome bits out before I have another go at it.

I’ve done this a lot. In particular, there’s one novel I keep restarting over and over. For the most part, I would like it to be a humorous, lighthearted tale, and my initial opening had too serious of a tone. I restarted it during NaNoWriMo one year, but NaNoWriMo being NaNoWriMo, I ended up not really liking the drivel I wrote in a frenzy that month, so I sort of axed that, too. I restarted it again very recently but was not quite satisfied with that beginning, either. I have a ton of notes and ideas, and hopefully they will manifest into something better one day. This has often happened to me with novels: I’ve had great ideas and grandiose plans and then felt frustrated at my inability to execute them right, stalling the project as a result. So far, the only novel I’ve managed to finish is the one Thurston Howl Publications is publishing in August (Mist), though I hope to write many more.

It’s not a waste of time, though! It’s all good practice for you as a writer. And who knows, some of those ideas may reappear in different forms in later stories. They’re not in the trash, they’re in a compost pile, fermenting and getting ready to grow new things. :slight_smile:

LOVE that analogy! And so true. Stephen King suggests “kill your darlings” which is salient advice. But I think of it rather than killing them, I’m just putting them into “cold storage” (literally–that’s the filename!) They may not suit what I’m doing now, but may well fit somewhere else or suit something else in the future. I go through them from time to time with that thought in mind. And once in a great while I do so and pluck a bit or two out thinking “aha! That’s just what I was looking for today.”