How many of us have unfinished works in our computers? I bet a lot. Sometimes we get an amazing idea for a story, we furiously write it down, come up with characters, develop and plot and after feverishly working on it for days and weeks at a time…. it fizzles. Why does this happen? I can blame writer’s block, lack of time, computer problems, but that’s usually not it. You can always come up with some excuse, but for me, the real reason is that I probably got bored. And if “I” get bored with my own story, you can imagine how readers might feel. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and it doesn’t mean I’m not capable of finishing a book… just maybe not this one.
The question begs, what do you do with these stories? Especially those that are halfway, to three-quarters of the way, written? Can they be saved? Do you even want to save them? Should you finish them as an exercise and put them in a special “where the sun don’t shine” file, or do you occasionally take them out, dust them off and try to “fix” them? I have four novels in various stages of production. Some are in genres I never usually write in and I use these books to “play.” When I need a break from a serious WIP, but still want to write, I go to these “where the sun don’t shine” novels and work on them. Some of them are actually decent, some of them are terrible and some of them I will never show anyone because of subject matter (you fill in the blanks 😉 ) But the fact is, they are there, I know they’re there and I don’t necessarily want to let them go.
I wondered if I were the only author that has unfinished works in their arsenal. This week I asked authors Charity Parkerson and C.K. Raggio for their input on this subject. They had some great, thought provoking responses.
Question #1) Do you have any unfinished works? Or do you have stories you start but don’t finish and what do you do with them?
C.K. Raggio: I have quite a few short stories in numerous notebooks near my desk. When I get frustrated or stuck on whatever novel I’m writing (and hard liquor and yanking out my hair doesn’t cut it) I take out a short and work on that instead. It helps me to clear my mind and refocus. It also gives me a feeling of accomplishment once I get to the end of a draft and feel like I’ve improved on it.
Charity Parkerson: I have one book in particular that has sat on my computer for over a year now that I’m beginning to think will never be complete. While writing A SPLASH OF HOPE I always intended for it to have a sequel, but so far, it’s not happening. Sometimes if I have several things that are around 1000 words, I’ll find a way to piece them together to start a new story and it will spark an idea.
Question #2) Do you think it’s okay for writers to have stories that never get finished?
C.K. Raggio: Definitely. I think sometimes a story starts in our head but isn’t ready to be completed. Sometimes we need to grow in our own lives before we are finally able to go back and finish the story’s journey. I believe every tale we tell in some way is connected to our experiences, fears, goals and ultimate dreams. Life will sometimes throw a curve ball and a course we thought we were following changes direction, so even if a story is never finished it’s not a bad thing, it just means we may have drastically changed before we had a chance to polish it to perfection.
Charity Parkerson: I think every writer does have stories that never see the light of day. If in the end it doesn’t work for them then most likely it’s not going to work for readers. Writing is never a waste of time, but not everything is right for publication.
Wise words, ladies. I agree with everything you’re saying and love the idea that maybe sometimes we need to “grow into our lives” before we can finish them. And I love the concept that even if we don’t finish, it’s not a waste of time because it might “spark other ideas.” Really great advice.
For more information about the authors above, please feel free to contact them here:
Charity Parkerson is an award-winning author of several books including 15 Amazon bestsellers. She can always be reached on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson You can also check out one of her novels, THE SEXY & THE UNDEAD at http://www.amazon.com/The-Sexy-Undead-Witches-ebook/dp/B00CLYIMD0/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1373661362&sr=1-6&keywords=charity+parkerson
C.K. Raggio is a thriller/horror writer with a taste for the dark side. Her debut novel HERON PARK is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Wx537w You can visit C.K. at her website http://www.ckraggio.com/