A leaky goblet doesn’t hold water.
My YA horror novel about humorously pretentious kids figuring out skepticism while attending a haunted school on the verge of closing also doesn’t currently hold water.
After my first draft two years ago I decided to eventually rewrite it with a focus on making the characters more distinctive from one another, making the setting as colourful as it was in my head, avoiding needless opinionated rants, and using fewer plot threads. After a few starts and stops and taking time to complete a whole bunch of other writing projects, I went all-in and did over 26,000 words of rewrites this past month-and-a-bit (on top of rewrites to a couple of short stories that had deadlines.) I even wrote a bunch of words for that novel today. I’m not ashamed of those words. Here’s the problem: the premise undermines itself. I don’t want to get into how it undermines itself. It does.The logic of the story doesn’t work. I have no idea why I didn’t notice it before because it now seems blindingly obvious.
Right now, I only know of two ways to solve the problem. I could a) dumb it down so that logic doesn’t matter, or b) turn it into Scooby Doo as written by a knockoff Judy Blume. If I could afford a licence to write a Scooby Doo novel, I’d add a dog and get on with it, but I don’t. Maybe I’ll figure out a third option that’ll solve everything.
At the moment, (and this might change if I have an exciting revelation about the project) I wonder whether I stuck with this story because of the sunk cost fallacy, i.e. I’ve already spent this much energy and enthusiasm on it, so if I stop now I’ll have wasted my time. Hm.
I should probably mention, however, that I wrote the first draft of a different novel this past fall. It takes place in the here and now, I like the characters for reasons other than nostalgia, the plot threads intertwine without having to stretch them too far out of whack, and I pretty much know how to pitch it without feeling either lame or untruthful. Still, I admit that the idea of switching projects again feels like failure, even if it makes the most sense…
Lame. Very lame.