About fifteen years ago, maybe more, I began work on an original story. In fairness it was my own fan fiction that I adapted and turned into an original story.
I wrote and wrote and wrote to make the characters original. I didn’t want anyone reading it and thinking it was that guy from that show. Then I had to change the setting. Then the premise and finally, it became almost unrecognizable from the original work.
I re-wrote more times than I can count and then it was ready. A novelette that might be publishable. After sending it off to agents and getting a lot of rejections, I gave it to a school teacher friend to read it. She procrastinated and never really read it, just sort of pretended so that fell flat. I gave it to a voracious reader who gave me vague feedback and precious little of that.
Finally, during a cross country trip, I read it out loud to my sister. When it was over, she declared that it was boring.
That was the final blow although it wasn’t a conscious decision. I put it away for years.
Just recently, I’ve taken it out, dusted it off and started over. It’s so clear now why it lacked power. I was afraid to make it too grim despite a decidedly grim plot. I edited myself away from the horror, worried that it was too dark for public consumption.
It has a slow build instead of instant gratification. Some of the characters aren’t developed well. And it’s not long enough. I failed to mine a piece of the story that could make everything pop.
Re-energized and optimistic, I’m ready to push the boundaries and make this the novel that it should have been and not the tired work that it became.