I was looking through your old posts and saw some of the unfinished/unpublished works you’ve been posting. I was wondering why you’ve never finished or published these? What made you publish others while sidelining these books?
Thanks for the question. So really everyone has some test they put in place that determines whether something is a good idea or not. This can be hit or miss and can result in some books that shouldn’t be published being put out there while some good ideas fall by the wayside.
For me, sometimes things look better in my head than they do on paper. Sometimes I have an idea for a sequel, but it’s not nearly fleshed out enough. Then when the whole story starts coming to fruition, you start thinking, “Okay… this is stupid…” Most of the work I abandon that ends this way, I usually kill off after a few chapters.
Other books that actually could be a good idea, I have to admit, I either lose patience with or run out of creative steam on. Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?
I have a few books waiting in the wings that COULD actually be revisited…
Taryn – Following the success of the Magnifca series, I went to work on a sequel series that would follow a new character from the same lineage; the half-elf (well, 35%ish?) Taryn. As you’ve no doubt read from the chapters I’ve posted, this book takes place well after the events of the previous story. My main characters have all passed away and the pure-blood elven race is all but extinct, it’s legacy continued by the thinning blood line of half-breeds. My hope was to introduce a group of sanguine elves aka vampires into the mix. This group would eventually be cured and breathe new life into the elven species.
So what happened? Two major problems came up. First, my goal was to try to merge modern, every day life with a fantasy world. Adding yet ANOTHER species and allowing the story to take place in the distant future turned it more and more into Sci Fi Fantasy and less like an urban fantasy which was the whole draw of the series from the first place. Second, I fell out of love with my main character. When I write my characters, I sort of like to let them take on a life of their own and write them as my mind thinks they would react to situations and handle adversity. Taryn quickly became unlikable and somewhat of a smug and uptight character. In the end, I decided that her story wasn’t worth telling and completely backed off of it. I reread it every now and then and look at fixing it, but it’s kind of hard to do when your character already has preconceived notions about her. My only option would be to rip her from the story and start the whole thing over with a new character, but I’m not sure that would work either.
Magnifica: Genesis – This one… I admit… still has potential. I go back to it very often and that is why it has not been posted on the blog. I find myself writing a chapter here and a chapter there. This book is basically about Lia’na’s mother and her interactions with Toby’s entire family well before his birth, showing that Lia’na and Toby’s lives were intertwined before they even met. The problem is that the bad guy was the same one from the other stories and successfully connecting the two books has been difficult. Also I found the story somewhat uninteresting and the whole story pretty much banking on the fact that you’ve read the other books. Yeah it’s a prequel that requires you to read the sequels first for it to make any sense. Needless to say, it’s a book that requires an overhaul if it’s to ever go to production. However, as I’m writing adult novels, the idea of going back to YA is… really not an appealing notion at this point.
Beneath the Surface – This was my first and only shot at a horror novel. It started off strong, but eventually the story just didn’t make any sense and I lost patience with it. Plus it started to sound way too much like something Dean Koontz would write. With that, I gave up on it. I doubt I’ll ever finish the book.
Destiny – The final sequel to the Divinity books. If you’ve been on my blog for a while, you have no doubt seen me post the story in it’s entirety. This is perhaps one of my bigger regrets. It was written at the same time I wrote Magnifica. Keep in mind, Magnifica was not the first book I published. I had Divinity and Damnation written long before Magnifica was even a thought. The problem is that Historical Fantasy is a very niche market that is exceedingly difficult to break into and even harder to keep momentum. So the chances of Divinity being my first book being published was… well close to none. Instead, Magnifica was now on it’s way down the pipes. I had the story in my mind, so I started working that, putting Destiny on hold within the first few chapters.
I started working on Destiny while Magnifica went through editing and was published and finished it right as Magnifica came out. Again, this book was based on a much older writing style I used and had abandoned by the time the second Magnifica book began work. Following the third Magnifica book and the seeds of Soul Siphon being written, I all but gave up on Destiny. The writing style was pathetically amateur, the story while not horrible, started off way too much Disney Princess-ish, and while the entire Divinity Series went through a rewrite following it’s publication so that I could apply the new writing style, I haven’t been able to drag myself to finish it with Destiny. I’ve started, but we’re still working. Maybe at some point I’ll get back to it, but that would likely be a long way away.
Drakin: Wounds of the Past – Yup, even my most beloved series has fallen victim to this as well. Following the release of An Empire of Ashes, I started working on two potential sequels (sort of). The first was actually a bridging novel between The Orphans of Haven and An Empire of Ashes. It focused on what Qira did following the events of her story… something I don’t typically do, but everyone really seems to love Qira so I thought I’d try to give them a little more into her story. This is another one that I’m not sure if I’ll ever publish, but who knows?
The other book was a post-war Nuremberg style courtroom drama. In addition to fighting for the future of the world by revealing the old guard for what it was, the main protagonist sets out on a journey to hunt down the camp commander that had hurt him. The reveal of who the commander turns out to be is supposed to be a shocker, but it didn’t really work out all that well. Plus, like with Taryn, I fell out of love with the main character. He turned into a very unlikable person.
So hopefully these examples give you some idea of the thought process I go through. Readers, how do you handle books that you start, but then run out of creative steam on? Do you keep them and return later or abandon them all together.
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
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Catch you on the flip side!