Have you ever been working on a story that has it all - great idea, cool characters, interesting storyline, exciting plot....yet when you put it all together, it just doesn't look the way you envisioned? There's just something missing that you can't quite put your finger on. Or maybe the story fizzles out long before it should. Looking at each element separately, you should come up with a total that equals success. But instead, it's coming up looking like...well, a mangled skinny cat that looks more alien than furball :D
What do you do?
I've been lucky enough not to have this happen yet, at least to a devastating degree. Though I have written stories that three chapters in I've either lost interest in the story or just don't know where to go from there. And let's face it, if the author is losing interest in the story, there's probably not much hope the reader will want to read it.
Most of the time, the sad little story I'm working on gets put in a "I'll deal with it later" file and never sees the light of day again. For example, I started a book, probably two years ago now, that I started out very excited about. It was a historical romance (my favorite genre to write at the time). I had found a very cool real life story about a 13th century woman that I was going to adapt into my romance.
It had action, adventure, romance, fight scenes, chases, a corrupt high powered priest, a good guy love interest with a dangerous and criminal past, heartbreaking scenes and gorgeous imagery (if I do say so myself *ahem*).
But three chapters into this literary masterpiece, I stumbled. I knew where I wanted my story to go, but wasn't exactly sure how to get there. I had points A and Z but all the points in between were a little blurry. I had all the elements I needed to create an awesome story, but for some reason when I tried to string them together, I got the mangy cat instead of the gorgeous fashion model.
So, instead of being a good little writer and working out the bugs that were mutating my fabulous project, I moved on to something else (which, incidently, had the same problems and also got shelved.) I think I did this three or four times before I finally found a story I was passionate enough about to work through the kinks and get it finished.
And that was my missing ingredient. Passion. Sure, I had all the basic elements, but if you don't have the glue that holds it all together, the passion to stick with a story no matter what nasty hairballs come your way, all the perfect elements in the world won't amount to anything.
Writing is hard. Writing an entire novel, from start to finish with all the edits in between, is a daunting, time-consuming, goliath task and if you don't have the passion it takes to complete it, you are going to end up with a file full of half-finished stories.
Now, I still plan on finishing those stories one day. Like I said, the right elements are all there. I have what I need to make those half-baked ideas something really special...I just need to find the passion to finish them :)
Have you had this happen? Do you file them away for another day or discard them completely? Do you ever go back? How many mangy kitties are hiding in your file box and did any ever make fashion model status? :)