The Novel Dilemma: Story No Longer Relevant … Now What?

Snoopy writingWhat happens if you discover your novel-in-progress is no longer relevant? Do you let it go and start a new project, or re-work your story and characters?

I ask because I’VE hit such a dilemma, and I’m turning to you for answers. I may be an experienced article-writer, journalist, and copywriter … but the world of novels is new to me.

Here’s the Deal

I began writing my work-in-progress about two years ago. It initially began as a way to vent certain life frustrations. I never took it seriously, because my “serious writing” was devoted to my journalism.

Yet, a year into sporadically writing this book, I began looking at my creative writing differently. I began getting SERIOUS. I stopped reading just for fun, and found myself re-reading certain classics and breaking them down, like my old high school days of AP English. I started this blog (Rogue Writer), and began reading other blogs of published authors willing to share a tip or two.

That’s when I realized just how much I still had to learn … at least when it came to creative writing.

Now, I’m Stuck

I’m stuck because, after two years of self-improvement and hardcore fictional short story writing, I realized my novel is no longer relevant. I can now stare at my work with a critical eye, and I realized it may not measure up. However, I’ve grown so close to my characters (I know that sounds kinda schizophrenic, but I’m sure you can relate), that I couldn’t imagine letting them go.

Their needs, their hopes are just too dang important.

Plus, what about all that time I’d dedicated to writing the current chapters? To brooding over the ins-and-outs of the characters’ quirks? The daydreaming of my novel becoming the next THE HELP or HUNGER GAMES, minus the trilogy?

I’ve Contemplated …

  • Re-working the central story; this would entail re-writing many of the chapters, and possibly taking out certain conflicts that were vital to the original story.
  • Shelving it and starting a new project (although, I’m not sure what that would be). Maybe later, I could return to this book after reaching success with another project.

Those are really the only two solutions I could muster.

What Would YOU Do?

Since many of you are serious writers (some published), maybe you could offer some advice. What would you do in my situation? Or perhaps … have you already dealt with this novel dilemma?