Love It or List It?

I am an unapologetic HGTV-slut.  I. Love. That. Channel.

It doesn’t matter what is on – I’ll watch anything – but my favorites are House Hunters and Property Virgins.  But, a new program has caught my eye and I’ll definitely be tuning in when it premieres later this month – Love It or Leave It.

The premise is that when homeowners live in a house long enough and they lose the lovin’ feeling the question pops up as to whether they renovate or move.  In this show, two real estate professionals take opposite viewpoints and try to convince the homeowner to either stay in their home or list it for sale.  I think it looks fabulous!

It also reminds me of a recent writing dilemma I had about an old, unfinished manuscript. Now, I’m a little type A (don’t snicker, those of you who know me well) and I just can’t leave things unfinished – it drives me crazy.  But, this ms started out so strong and then, like a literary barracuda, I was distracted by a bright shiny object and put it aside.

Now, here’s my confession: It was easy to put it to the side because I’d hit a snag in the ms, wasn’t feeling the love for it anymore and . . . well, the other story was SO shiny!

So, I recently pulled it out and took a look at it to see what I wanted to do with my poor little orphaned baby. It still has the problems I hated before and shockingly the little writing elf did not finish it for me as it languished on my hard drive.  Sigh.

So, what do I do?  I’m working on my NaNo project right now and that takes immediate priority. But November will end and I’ll finish my WIP and the orphan will still be sitting there.

I need to decide if it’s worth picking up or if I should just shelve it for a different time – which might be never. Do I love it?  Do I list it?

I honestly don’t have a clue.

Do you have any advice? Have you faced the same question about one of your babies? When is it time to let a book go?


15 thoughts on “Love It or List It?

  1. Okay, I just ‘resurrected’ a dead manuscript recently, and the way it caught my eye was via Six Sentence Sunday…(you’ve heard of it?)…well, when I started doing the Sunday thing, I didn’t want to use my then current WIP – I went to my drawer of the dead and forgotten (but always on the edge of my thoughts:), and started pulling from it. Well, after a few weeks, and some intriguing feedback (folks like it!), I decided to polish it up (because someone was feeding my ego – although only at six sentences a week:), and wouldn’t you know – I was in love again. Now I do think some stories should never be resurrected. But what got be excited about this one I think was that I didn’t look at it as one big pie that had to be devoured (fixed) – but in little pieces, and those little pieces of story grew on me. By the way, it’s the story I entered in the Hold Me! Thrill Me! Contest, and it finaled:)…so yeah, I’m a little long-winded this morning, but I so understand what you mean:)…

  2. Hey Robin, my advice is not to leave it. And here is why. Sherrilyn Kenyon once wrote a story called “Knightly Dreams” and she says it’s her personal belief of where characters come from and what happens to them if writers abandon them. It’s a great story if you haven’t read it, you might check it out to get back that loving feeling for your unfinished manuscript.

    1. Carlene – I’ll have to check that out. I’ve written snippets before and then used those pieces in later books and there are parts of this one that I love. I’ll definitely check it out.

  3. Great post! Keep or toss, it’s a tough decision. I say don’t ever force it. And once NaNo is over, take a really good look at it. Maybe it’s not worth keeping the whole thing. Or maybe there is some element (a character, a plot, a setting) that is worth keeping and you can pull that out and start writing something semi-new. Good luck and smoochies! 😉

  4. Robin, lots of good advice here. I’d say, follow your gut. You are brimming with story ideas; there is nothing wrong with leaving one behind. Go with the one that tugs you the hardest.

  5. Who knew there was such a thing as a HGTV slut?!? Give that old manuscript a rub and see if some of the shiny comes back. Oh and you are just the kind of writer to get a giggle out of that, you naughty thing.

  6. Hmmmm, and if you force the issue (during the holiday season, no less! with all its demands of cheer and good will), are you going to end up resenting the story for still having those faults that refuse to comply with your wish/need/want to finish it? Or can you be grateful for what you learned on that manuscript, since you can see what went wrong, and move forward to your next and greatest work ever? There’s nothing wrong with a fresh start: that’s why we all have a bad boyfriend or two in our closets… nice to remember sometimes, but so not good for us.

  7. Robin,
    Unfortunately the manuscript was sitting on your hard drive for awhile for a reason. The same thing applies to one of mine. I still love my story. I still love my characters. But…I’ve put them away for the time being. Something was missing. Something didn’t flow. But, maybe, in a year or two, I’ll have a Eureka Moment and will just know how to fix the problems. Until that time, it will remain where it is.
    Now that I’m writing in a different genre, it’s a lot harder to pull that one out, but I do notice that I steal little scenes from my other manuscript. LOL.
    So, I say don’t list it, but maybe have a trial separation? 🙂

  8. Trial separation? I love it! I have an orphan running around also… I love the characters and I think the story has a lot of potential, but I haven’t been feeling it so I have put it aside and moved on to something I’m feeling a little stronger about. But I’m of the opinion that if there are still things you love about the story/characters, don’t pack them away permanently… just put them on a back burner for awhile.

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