Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Incomplete Novel From Hell

About 5 years ago, give or take, I had an idea for a horror novel. The story would have been commercial horror fiction and I loved the idea of it, but it's the novel that just doesn't end. In 5 years, I have tried 6 rewrites. I get to about 50 - 60, 000 words and get completely and utterly blocked. There's just something about the story idea that refuses to finish. No way, no how, will never happen.

I never delete any of my writing, I keep it all in a great big folder on my computer and do regular backups. That horror novel is in another folder with word docs, totalling about 300 - 400 words I've written for one novel idea that I can't finish to save my life.

So then, I'd get another idea for a story and find myself using bits and pieces from the Incomplete Novel From Hell. Lo and behold! I actually finished a story. So far, with every story I've finished or published, each uses little pieces from the Incomplete Novel From Hell. A certain character, a certain scene or subplot, or sometimes just a single line that I really like. It's become my own personal blueprint for writing all other stories so I can actually finish them. But I seriously doubt I will ever finish the Incomplete Novel From Hell.

I've long since given up. Not in the sense of admitting defeat, but simply accepting that it's one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the same. I've also accepted, because I have so much already written, I'm free to use any of it in another story. After all, it's all my original fiction, I can do whatever I want with it.

I was mentally working on a rewrite of the prologue (current writing project that is), sifting through ideas and throwing them out. I just wasn't getting anywhere. Then it occurred to me in one of the rewrites of the Incomplete Novel From Hell, I wrote a version for chapter 1 which has a rather unique style I had never done before. I love it to pieces, but been unable to properly use it before. Now I can! I'm using the exact same style for the rewrite of the prologue. And it works!

I'm happy :)


  1. I'm doing something very like that with the novel I'm working on now.

    I had all these novels I'd never finished, or else novels I'd finished that were failures, just sitting around, taunting me.

    So when I was looking for something new to work on--preferably something I'd see through to the bitter end, since it had been a while--I sat myself down and figured out what I liked best about each of my "interesting failures": characters, themes, plot elements and so on.

    From that, I cobbled this project together. It's good times.

    Anyhow I'm glad you were able to salvage something from your incomplete novel from hell, and also that you keep your old stuff, because you never know when it's going to come in handy, and it beats hoarding pets.

  2. Absolutely, I'm constantly surprising myself when I stumble upon something that reminds me of something else I had written and saved from like, 2 years. I save every single little scrap, you just never know :)


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