I don’t know a single author who hadn’t abandon a project (even if it was just for a while) and asked himself, “Does my book worth it?”.
A novel is a very long, demanding project that will keep you busy for a long time. Sometimes, you find yourself at a dead-end. You realize that it wasn’t such a good project as you had thought, and that can be devastating.
Does it have everything a story needs?
This happens for different reasons. The most common is that you had lots of ideas, full written scenes in your head, but you’re trying to squeeze them into a story that doesn’t exist. A bunch of scenes, no matter how great they are, isn’t a story.
You don’t have a well-written plot with a strong conflict. Your characters aren’t developed enough – they don’t have a specific goal, their personality is a mystery, or you don’t know how they look like.
Sometimes, you had a good plan, and everything was going well. Then, you feel gradually less excited about the project and start to see its flaws.
Take it or leave it
As enraging as it can be (desperation is also possible), it is a perfectly normal process. Now, before you give up on everything, let’s stop and think about it.
If you already sold the story, you have to keep working on it, whether you like it or not. If not, you can stop for a bit and ask yourself some questions.
Many times, our emotions get in the way of pragmatism. That’s great for our characters, but it can harm our work. That’s why you need to ask yourself the following questions and think about them one at a time:
Do I really like this story?
Am I just tired?
Is the story that bad that it can’t be fixed?
Do I know how to fix it?
If it is that bad, you can drop it or put it aside. You can always come back to it later with fresh eyes and a new perspective. You may, in the future, find the solution you can’t see now.
If you don’t know how to fix it, you can ask for help. And if you’re simply not sure about what’s going on, you can also ask for help!
Give up is (not) an option
To become a good writer, you need to write! A lot! Not all your stories will be masterpieces, and that’s okay.
Think about your “not so good” works as training wheels. Finding solutions for them may not make them great, but it will definitely impact your next work.
Analyze all the pros and cons of keep working on that story and make sure of what you truly want. Remember: you can always change your mind.