Letting a Story Go

I have a story, the first that I decided I would turn into a full manuscript, that is still not complete. It’s a project I’ve gone back to multiple times, but each time something has pulled me away again. During those times when the story has sat in a drawer, I’ve completed other manuscripts and worked on bettering my craft. Those times when I’ve tried to go back to the story, it would come back to me very reluctantly. My characters would look at me, completely confused as to why I’d decided to come along and start poking at their story again, clearly much happier to be left alone. As I’ve started to vaguely think about what goals I want to set for my 19-20 writing year, I’ve contemplated whether or not I want to make finishing this story a part of those goals. And every time I debate it, those characters stands in the background giving me a kind but firm no. So, I have to decide: do I let this story go?

If I do, I don’t have to decide to leave the story behind for good. And, I don’t think I need to decide why I’m letting it go. If other stories are demanding my time more and pushing harder to be on the list, they will be on the list. For now, I’m going to file the manuscript and notes in my writing drawer and wait to decide what the future of the story is. I’ve got April and May left in my fourth quarter and then it will be time to set goals for the new writing year and I can make my decision then.

This week I finished formatting the next manuscript to swap with my critique partner! These manuscripts will be the stories we wrote for NaNoWriMo this past year and I’m so excited to dive into them. I was able to make some revisions to the beginning of the first act, but the rest of the story is the exactly as it was when I finished it for NaNoWriMo. I’m tempted to re-read the rest of the draft just to remind myself of the story, but I’m going to ignore that temptation and instead dive head first into the complete revision of my other manuscript.

Have you ever had to let a story go? How did you decide it was the right thing to do for the story? Or, did you not know it was the right thing, just knew it was what needed to be done?

Happy Writing!

7 thoughts on “Letting a Story Go

Add yours

  1. I have lots of stories I’ve put aside – I say that, rather than let go, because I see it as a temporary thing. I’ve definitely picked up things I started years ago, or used a story I wrote as a teenager to inspire something new. I’m sure you’ll go back to that story someday!


    1. I do like that way of looking at it and saying it. I think I say let go for this one because I keep fighting it and I need to let it go for now. I love the story and the characters, but it’s not coming together and I have other stories that really are. I definitely will go back to it, when it’s ready to be finished! 🙂


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