We all have them. Paper ghosts in drawers or digital phantoms that appear, vainly waving their titles every time we search for a file. They are the Ones Who Never Were, the ideas we chased fervently, half-heartedly and then not at all. They lie in the WIP graveyard of lost hope.
There's a saying that every author has at least four failed MS in a drawer before getting good enough to publish. This is definitely true for me. Four is a low number, actually. And at the beginning of my fiction attempts, I couldn't figure out why my WIP ideas petered out half-way through an impressive word count.
So after intense
1. No clear idea of the ending. Yeah, this seems obvious but I've been known to get so excited about a concept, I just dove right in and figured the ending would unravel itself the closer I got. This HAS happened to me ..but it's the exception.
2. Premature feedback. I was in the middle of a very cool supernatural WIP when an online critique site opened for beta testing. Totally jazzed at the idea of fresh eyes adoring my new creation, I threw it up there...and got stuck revising the beginning so many times in response to criticism, I lost enthusiasm for the whole thing.
3. Wrong setting. If our setting doesn't call to us, we don't want to go down the writing rabbit hole. I find all kinds of excuses not to go. I had this happen with one of my current WIPs - figured out I didn't want to be where the book was set and changed the setting. Voila! In love again.
4. Affair with a new idea. I'm currently fighting this one. A dystopian I started based on a really interesting concept is now taking second place to an action/adventure story set in Israel. In my case, this kind of goes back to #3 bc right now, with an Alaskan winter looming, I'd rather be in Israel in my head. When summer comes again, I'll long for Maine, the setting of my dystopian. Or so I hope. *fingers crossed*
5. Boredom. If this list was in order, this would be #1. The story doesn't sizzle. It lays there limply in the pan like a piece of wet bacon. There are so many issues with the MS - plot holes, weak characters, dead-ends, crossed genres - it's easier to walk away.
6. It's too big. Your idea requires so much research or draws from an area of expertise you don't have, that you write yourself into a corner. Your WIP is an unwieldly monster threatening to overwhelm you so you consign it to digital darkness.
This is a short list, so please share your WIP killers, as well as what's helped you overcome your WIPs death throes, in the comments. I'll be taking notes!