So how do you tell if it’s dead?

Here’s the tl;dr of my last post–Boy, I’m spending a lot of time screwing around with this book. But I think it’s worth it!

Why do I think it’s worth it? Here’s my rough formula for trying to determine if I’m beating a dead manuscript.

1) Do I still like it? Because if I don’t I’m not going to work on it, so I may as well trunk it. Also, while there’s almost always some point in every project where I hate my WIP, it’s a bad sign if that feeling lingers.

2) Do others like it? If my first reader, writing groups, or anyone else I can wrangle into reading the story seem meh, I might just need to examine my enthusiasm.

3) Am I doing other things? The main problem with spending all my time on one book or story is that other projects are dying. Do a revision, then go do something else. Come back and check on it again. Spending all my time focusing on just one thing is not good.

4) Finally, have I burned all this baby’s bridges? If I’ve queried every agent or submitted to every editor and the work has gone nowhere, it’s time to let it go. Even if I think it’ll be the besty bestest, I should probably be doing something else.

And yes, I know I could consider self-publishing at this point, but that’s too deep a rabbit hole for me to jump into right now.



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