What a Loss of Interest In Your Novel Could Mean & What to Do About It
Are you coming off the new story high? You know the high you felt when you first started writing your new novel? And now you're feeling a little lukewarm about it? What's with the loss of interest in your novel?
There are a number of reasons writers lose interest in their new writing projects. Let's take a look at some of them.
1. Lack of Planning
Are you a pantser? I get it. It's more fun to see what words flow magically from our fingertips when we're writing by the seat of our pants. There's a special high we get with this writing method. When we go back and read what we've written and it sounds really good, it's like, "Dang. I'm good."
Not to mention, a lot of successful writers write this way. And there isn't a right or wrong way to write anyway.
But if you've been cruising through the writing and now you've suddenly hit a block, it might be time to assess the story's plot and characters. Does your story follow a plot structure? Have you heightened the stakes? Do your main characters have internal and external goals and conflicts? Do they have believable motivations, actions, and reactions?
2. Weak Characters
If you're losing interest in your story, it might be because the characters need some work. We need story characters we can like, trust, believe in, and support. Ones we can fall head over heels for. If we don't care what happens to the character, what's the point of continuing with the story?
Increasing the stakes and making it more difficult for the character to achieve his goal may be the trick to finding interest in your story again.
3. Difficult Theme or Topic
Sometimes after we start out writing about a difficult theme or topic, something we know an awful lot about because maybe we or someone we know has experienced a similar situation, we can become disinterested. Maybe we've grown out of the phase and no longer have a desire to talk about it. Or maybe if we continue talking about it, we might revert to our old ways and experience it again.
There's a struggle writers face with writing about emotional topics; in order to capture the emotion properly, we need to see and feel things the way the character sees and feels them. But staying inside a character's head too long can be depressing.
If you're struggling with your novel for this reason, it might be time to take a breather. Only you can decide how much time you need. There's a valid reason for why you started writing the story; readers out there need to hear it, to learn from it, to grow from it. When you're ready to get back to your story, keep the reader in mind. Stay focused on delivering the message so you can help others cope.
4. Writing Troubles
Another reason we can lose interest in a story is that we don't know how to write a particular thing – like describing facial expressions or trying to capture the emotion in a scene. If we're inexperienced or rusty in these areas, we might get fed up and lose interest in writing altogether.
The good news is, this is fairly easy to fix. At least it's a simple fix. Maybe it's not the easiest thing in the world to do. But we can always learn how to describe facial expressions, capture emotion, or whatever the weakness is.
Study novels that do a great job of handling your type of writing weakness. How does the author handle it? Also, study writing reference books. Don't just read these books. Study them and take notes. Treat this process like a writing course and practice the techniques.
As we've discussed, there are a number of reasons we lose interest in our stories. And there are ways we can spark interest again and salvage our work. There are also times when a story isn't ready to be told. The best course of action in this case, after you've revisited the plot to heighten the stakes and the motivations, may be to set the work aside for a bit and start something new.
The important thing is to write something that interests you. Whether you work on renewing interest or exploring a new project, the choice is up to you.