Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Losing Interest

A reader e-mailed me to ask: I write part of a story, then lose interest or stop liking it. What do I do about that?

Yeah, this is a tough one. Particularly if you haven’t already sold the manuscript, so there’s no deadline looming before you, pushing you to continue.

You have a couple options in this situation.

The first is to set the story aside. I’ve done this, as have most of the writers I know. I’ve had plenty of times where I’ve burned out on a manuscript, taken some time off to work on another project, and then been able to return to the first project with much more enthusiasm and finish the story. In fact, I did this multiple times with the first book I wound up publishing, Me, Just Different. So don’t hesitate to give yourself a breather.

Another option—and one that I’ve used when I’m on a deadline and no-finish is no-option—is to ask yourself why you don’t like it. Why is it not interesting to you anymore, and what could you do to make yourself interested? This happened to me with book three in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, So Over It.

I realized that a character I loved and relied on had been missing, so I found a way to pull him back in. I did a really horrible job of it initially. I did it in about one scene, when it needed to be six or seven. But at the time, I didn’t have the enthusiasm to write six or seven scenes without this guy. So I wrote the bare essentials, and in the second draft I was able to expand and make it read less sucky.

Hope this helps!

Have a question? E-mail me.


  1. Yes, definitely helps! I'm going to write a short story for a competition (Yeah, from 60,000 words to 500 words...) as a little bit of a break from my novel. :)
    ...any ideas, anyone, about what I could write about?


  2. FIVE HUNDRED WORDS??? That's crazy short!

    Are there any kinds of guidelines for the topic?

  3. Ugh, I know. And, no. No guidelines at all, which doesn't really help...;)

  4. 500 words is super short ... I wouldn't even know where to begin. I guess, I'd try and find some examples of short stories and get an idea of what works and what doesn't.

  5. I wrote something a little different... I kind of got the idea from the Hollywood Nobody books, by Lisa Samson. If I sent it to you, would you mind giving me a little feedback? Oh, and BTW -- you sent me an email about being a loyal interview reader, and you were going to send me a book, yes? I'm so sorry I haven't replied yet, and I just wanted to make sure!:)


  6. Send it my way! I'll happily take a look. I'm on a deadline this week for the third book in the Skylar series, but I'll get to it as soon as I can.

    And, yes, I have a book all set aside for you! I just didn't want to harass you for your address if you weren't interested :) Shoot me an e-mail, okay? Stephanie (at) StephanieMorrillBooks (dot) com