Surrender. What's Elana's done, is chosen a week and invited folks to blog about a time they never gave up. You can get the full details on the blogfest on her blog.
The most appropriate "never surrender" story for this blog has got to be when I wrote my second novel, Blue Fire. Second books are notorious for being hard (you have deadlines, expectations, a shorter time to write them, etc) and middle books in a trilogy are harder still. My agent and editor told me this, but the first book was so easy I just assumed the second would be too.
I was so wrong.
Fifteen months. Five total start-over rewrites. And that was just to get it to the point where I didn't think it sucked. There was still plenty of work after that. The drop dead deadline got closer and closer, and if I couldn't get the book done on time, I had to push off my release date.
That was a year or torture for me. Not only was I struggling with this blasted book, but I had the added pressures of a debut novel release. The emotional highs and lows were rough enough with the writing pressures.
I admit, there were times I wanted to give up. Terrified I was a failure. But this was my dream, and I knew if I gave up now, I was probably done for. I wanted to prove to myself I could do this. Some days, the only thing that kept me going was not wanting to disappoint the folks who'd supported me this far.
As frustrating and hair pulling as it was, it was an experience that taught me that no matter how hard it got, I could do this "writer thang" (as my husband calls it). No book is ever going to be as hard as Blue Fire was. And if it is, then I know I can get through it.
Since this blog is dedicated to helping writers, let's add some tips on how to push through a novel that makes you want to surrender.
1. Take a step back and reevaluate what you want from it
It all comes down to story here. Take some time and think about what you want the story to accomplish. The themes, the idea, the one thing you want readers to take away when they read it.
2. Check your premise
Some ideas are flawed and won't work no matter what you do. Take a hard look at your premise. It is plausible and something others might find interesting? If the core idea needs work, nothing you put on top of it is going to work.
3. Look at the plot
If something isn't working, and the premise is sound, odds are it's in here. Goals aren't solid, the protagonist's motivations are flimsy. You might have all the right pieces of the plot, but it's not clear enough or the characters aren't doing it for their own personal reasons. You have to get the drive back in there and show why this matters and why there protagonist is doing these things.
4. Look at the stakes
If there are no consequences, why should the reader care if your hero succeeds? This is where that sense of "Why should I care?" comes into play. If failing doesn't comes with dire enough consequences, readers won't feel compelled to care. Make them care again. Make failing matter in a personal way.
5. Look for the little things
Sometimes all a scene needs is a deeper layer of what you already have. My current WIP is a great example. The first several chapters just didn't feel compelling enough, though I knew that what I had was right. So I concentrated on making sure the goals were solid, clear, and consistent. Suddenly the chapters had drive again. Just because something isn't working doesn't mean you have to re-do the entire book. Try bringing out or adding what's missing.
What did you refuse to give up on?
The thrilling and seductive sequel to Possession puts love on the line in a dystopian struggle for independent thought.
Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…
Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….