First Attempts

I’ve started a couple of different novels and I always seem to get about so far on them and then lose steam.

I have characters I like, in situations I think are workable but then the plot just doesn’t seem to be developing into anything.

So the novels sit on the shelf, one quarter finished, gathering dust.

My first novel was about a couple who were on the skids.

They had been trying to have children but nothing was happening on that area and the guy seemed to lose interest in the dwindling prospects.

Then he has an affair. But he confesses his dalliance and promises to do better, even going so far as to suggest changing jobs and finding something less high-strung, and in an entirely different state.

They work through the trust issues and she finds him a suitable job up north, in Vermont.

It is in a quaint town where he will be working and they locate a modest home in a small unincorporated village nearby called “Stone Harvest”.

So, while he is off at work – and he does not have any overtime at this thing – she explores the small community in which she finds herself.

And she very quickly finds a mystery. But it takes a back seat to her reborn romance. Her husband spends more time with her than with his job and soon she finds herself pregnant.

At last!

She thinks she has finally found the happy place she had been looking for but keeps finding herself drawn to a local cemetery.

Though the town looks like it could never have been very large, the number of gravestones speaks volumes, and the reason it is called Stone Harvest.

It was going to be a Tryon-esque tale of mystery with an air of the paranormal.

But that’s about as far as I got on the tale.

My second novel was about a woman who has left her husband – married to his job – and moves to a secluded place on the North Carolina coast called the Barrens.

Which is about the best description of her heart at the moment. After being cheated on and reconciling only to have the process repeat itself, she is pretty decimated emotionally.

She just needs a place to find some peace and rediscover herself. And make a stable environment for her eight-year-old daughter.

And since the old place needs some repairwork, she contacts a local handyman.

The neighbors advise her against hiring him but none of the other “reputable” ones had time for her place.

Little things come out in chats with him while he was working and from gossip in the town that there was something a little unpleasant in the fellow’s past.

Something involving the death of a family in the Barrens…

It was expected to have a touch of the paranormal as well.

And that’s about as far as I got on that one.

Both were exciting to me when I started them but the more I worked, the less interesting they became.


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4 thoughts on “First Attempts

  1. Two months ago I picked up writing as a hobby. I feared not finishing my first novel, as I did with other things I start. However, a month later I was done with the first draft. When I came to revise it I found something dreadful – it was poorly written. In terms of characters and plot development, it was not as bad as I thought. But the things I learnt during the process improved my writing significantly. Now I am writing my second book, while I pass a month of not thinking about the first one. The chapters I have written so far are far better written than my first book.

    Although I am an inexperienced and amateur writer, I believe that not finishing your first projects can have benefits. By writing you learn, and one of the things you learnt was that you run out of steam. So think of the reasons you gave up on your novels. Is it because you didn’t finish them quickly enough, or because you don;t like them?

    It is alright to start something and not finish it, as long as you learn from your experience.

    • That is sooooo true! Not everything you start really needs to be finished, I suppose, but if you do not gain something from the attempt then it is a wasted effort.
      I may someday return to the earlier stories but not until I have had a chance to distance myself from the disappointment of falling out of love with them.
      Good luck on your writing. Wow! And you finished your first book in a month!!
      That’s incredible!

  2. The reason you lost interest is because your protagonist isn’t suffering enough. Solution: save the file under a new name and DELETE back to a place where things were all wrong. Next, make things more wrong. Make her life a misery, Make her hit rock bottom. Stories are written around black moments–that place where all hope is lost. You take a perfectly OK life, ruin it while teaching the protagonist about her strengths, her flaws, and throw in some new skills, and then when she’s about to gasp her last breath, it all comes together and she kicks some proverbial tuckus.

    You’re previous efforts are puzzle pieces. I see a theme running through both of your vignettes. Maybe you could combine them? Don’t stop writing just because you can’t get through a story. If I’d done that, jeez, I wouldn’t have a freakin’ library full of good ideas to throw into my current work (which is actually getting past the beginning and has a black moment written already, Yay!).

    Just keep in mind that all the great novels you’ve read, even the high-browed literary ones, have stretched their protagonists beyond their limits and forced them to grow. Those are the kind of stories that keep interest. Who you choose to tell that story, whether it’s the exhausted single mother holding down two jobs while going to night school or the young, werewolf-ass-kicking chick with the love life of a zombie, is up to you. But if you’ve lost interest, then so will your readers.

    • That’s good advice!!!
      And, yes, there does seem to be a common thread running through both of them.
      So, I’ll take them back a few squares and dump a lot more garbage into their lives, stir a little less gently, and see what develops.

      Thanks!

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