Giving Up an Idea that Won't Work: Another Angry Monster of Writing

Updated: Jun 28

If you've been a writer for very long you'll have noticed that it is difficult. There are monsters hiding behind your computer chair, sneaking up behind you when you've fallen asleep on the couch after a [very brief] writing session.

If you're not careful and if these monsters are left unchecked they will get in the way of you becoming the great writer that you are supposed to be.

So Let's Start Vanquishing!

Why Is it So Hard to Give up a Novel Idea?

One of the reasons why authors generally don’t want to give up on an idea that they had for a novel is because they feel like then they’ll need to start over with a new idea. And that is true. Starting from scratch can be a difficult pill to swallow.

Their story idea is very close to their heart and mind. When we as authors write stories, often we 'melt' into the world that we have created. We form strong bonds with our characters. We want to see them succeed and grow and get through tough times. And more than that, we want other people to know about them- by publishing the book!

The writing process was long and arduous. Most writers take several months if not years to write the first draft. The sheer volume of work and effort that it takes to write a novel, makes it difficult to abandon.

How Do I Know If I Should Give Up?

There are some tell-tale signs that your book idea might not be 'good enough' to be published. Here are just a few:

1) You don’t have a lot of motivation to write finish it or self-edit it. If you don’t have the motivation to write it, then how will the reader feel about reading it?

2) If when you share your idea with others, the feedback is either mixed or negative. It can really hurt to get negative feedback, especially from people that you care about. But sometimes the story ideas really aren’t that good and may only appeal to us personally.

c) It’s already been overdone in the marketplace. If you do a google search of the concepts that are present in your story and see even one result, stop writing it. There is no honor in writing a copy. There is no creativity in tweaking a story that’s already out there

So What Happens After I Give Up my Idea?

Think of this self-less act as a new start. You can now dedicate your thoughts, talents, time, and effort to areas of writing that will reap rewards.

Think about it this way. Everything that you write should challenge you and teach you something about yourself, the world around you, and your writing style.

Every piece should be better than the last. So, don’t think about all the time that you wasted on that story idea. Think about all the things that you have learned about writing and about yourself during the process of writing that book. Think about how maybe in a few years when you have accumulated enough lessons, you can come back to the idea again and write it the ‘right way’

How to Improve Your Next Novel's Concept

Think about what you can do differently with this next novel to ensure that you don't have to abandon it as well. Here are a few tips:

1) Think about Your Target Audience & Market Desires before you write. Do some research regarding who your target audience will be, and what they want to read. Google search books that sound similar to your book and see how they fair in terms of sales and reviews. Are there any books already on the market that sound exactly like yours?

Take time to plan your novel. It's important to properly plan out your main characters (protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters) so that they are well-rounded 'real' people. And you need to have a clear plan for what is going to happen to those characters. Think about the characters' arcs, unexpected twists and turns, quests to get exactly what the characters want, and how those quests go badly (just a few ideas).

2) Create an Outline for your chapters.

3) Alternate between writing sessions and editing sessions. This will ensure that you are making necessary edits as you go and that what you leave behind does make sense.


We hope that this post and the previous posts in this series have offered you some valuable tools for vanquishing those monsters! If you have any questions or need any support in your writing journey, please do reach out to us: or Tweet us @ThousandLived

Be sure to check out the accompanying podcast episode, hosted by author Hazel Dains.

Tune in for the next monster:

How to Self-Edit Your Book June 27, 2022

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