By Evelyn David
Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.
Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.~ James A. Michener
A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.~ Richard Bach
If you're going through hell, keep going.
~ Winston Churchill
If you're looking for a quote that says it's okay to quit – you won't find one. I know. I was searching for somebody smart or famous, maybe not Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, but any minor celebrity would do, that would justify our decision to abandon a book that we'd been writing.
We'd been working on this story off-and-on – mostly off – for the better part of three years. Anything, including a thumb wrestling tournament on cable TV, was enough to divert our attention. We kept talking through scenarios and occasionally even writing a couple of scenes.
Then last week I finally came to a long overdue conclusion. It happened after I'd finished the first draft of a scene that included a heartfelt speech by one of our favorite characters. I mean it was the kind of declaration that would make lesser men stand up and cheer – except it had absolutely no business in the book and made little or no sense.
It was time to cry Uncle (or Aunt, Nephew, or Cousin). Basically it was time to hold up the white flag of surrender and say this book is going nowhere – fast.
Was it too ambitious? Too complicated? Were we trying too hard? Probably no to the first question; definitely yes to the second and third. We're capable of writing grand stories with deep themes, even if we often choose to eschew great pronouncements of metaphysical meaning (if I even know what that means). I don't remember who said it, but somebody (not Paris, Kim, or even Honey Boo-Boo), once said, "Not only do I not want to write the Great American Novel; I don't want to read it."
Anyway, the two halves of Evelyn David had a brief memorial service for a story that was dead on arrival. We killed it. No wanted posters for the murderer are necessary. Nor even a moment of silence. Frankly, it was a relief.
Being me, I felt a little guilt. Like I owed it to the story to try and make it work. But maybe I'm getting older, maybe a little smarter, maybe listening to the Southern half who doesn't have much patience with guilt trips helps. But I realized that by pulling the plug on a story that wasn't ever going to work, it freed us to write one that did.
Which is exactly what we've been doing.
So I guess we're not quitters after all. How about you? Have you ever quit a project?
Murder Off the Books Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle - Trade Paperback (exclusive to Amazon)
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle (exclusive to Amazon this month)
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Ghosts of Lottawatah - trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 - I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 - A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)
Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords