When Stories Won’t Cooperate

This steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi mash-up I’ve been working on has been an adventure filled with plenty of ups and downs.

During NaNoWriMo this year, I thought I struck gold. A side story blossomed to life and took me by surprise. It was deeper and more challenging than I was expecting. And its ending… well, it left me feeling like a horrible human being because it was both heartbreaking and beautiful. It was just the ending the story needed. (See my lament when I wrote it here.)

But then I had to return to the main story. I had hoped that fresh inspiration from the side story would be enough to breathe new life into the main story, but it soon fizzled out. I’ve been trying to force it ever since, but it just won’t cooperate. Something is missing, and I’m not sure what it is.

Originally, I thought it was more conflict. While that helped, it didn’t fix the problem. Something else is missing, and the characters can’t tell me what it is. We’re all feeling a little frustrated, like we’re just stuck in mud.

So, for me, I think there’s only one solution.

It’s time to set the novel aside again. Like a cup of tea, it needs a little more time to brew. It’s time to move on to another story and let this one steep in the back of my mind until it’s ready. Then, that adventure will begin again, hopefully with the fresh infusion of inspiration that it needs.

So where to now? Back to the beginning again. I want to experiment with some storytelling elements in my very first novel that I think will kick it up to the next notch. And maybe this will be the final draft? Maybe?

What do you do when a story just won’t cooperate? Do you set it aside or do you have techniques to push it forward?

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2 responses to “When Stories Won’t Cooperate

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