What To Do With Unfinished Work?

Have you ever worked on a project for months on end, only to finish and hate it?

That’s where I am right now with my first book. It’s just so short and it sucks horribly. At least I think it sucks. I’ve been told it actually doesn’t. Not by anyone important, mind you, so I can’t actually be sure.

At the moment, I’m trying to decide if I should just add it to the (ever-growing) pile of unfinished thoughts, or work on it a bit more. It needs an edit. And a rewrite. And some fluff. It needs a lot of stuff, really. I thought it was finished almost a year ago, but now, especially compared to my current book, it looks like I’ve barely started.

I wrote it at a time in my life that was sporadic, unstable, and unsatisfying. The result: borderline autobiography. I’m not in that mindset anymore, so I’m finding it hard to go back to it and rework some of the problem areas. I hate to give up on it because it took me so much time, but I’m not sure there’s a defibrillator out there that can shock this thing back to life.

I’m being dramatic. It’s actually not that bad.

The main problem, actually, is the length. It’s 41,000 words. And, as everybody knows, while technically a novel at 40,000, things aren’t really even considered until they reach 60,000. So what to do? Trash it? Write another 20,000+ words on a book I’m not feeling anymore? Send it out as a novella? Self-publish? Send it to the chop shop in my brain and reuse some of it in short stories, other works, etc.? Put the chapters on here for your entertainment?

I’m going with ‘ignore it’ for now.

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2 thoughts on “What To Do With Unfinished Work?

  1. I guess it really depends what you envisioned doing with the piece of writing when you originally wrote it. Is it something you want other people to see, or was it more written to help you work some things out (kind of like a cathartic exercise)? If you did write it with the intention of having other people read it someday, why not put it away for another few months and then take it out and see what you think? Sometimes distance helps solve problems.

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  2. I had originally wrote in with the intention of it being read by others, but I think it worked out to do more for me than it could ever do for anyone else. I think I’ll take your advice and leave it alone for a bit then see where it stands 🙂

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