• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

Stories that Won’t Let You Go

https://i2.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/flower-in... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Somewhere around six years ago, I had a story idea pop into my head. As most writers will tell you, that’s not exactly an unusual occurrence. Story ideas fly into (and often out of) my mind like flights landing at Kennedy Airport. But this idea felt . . . special. It had that x-factor sparkle that demanded, Write me! Write me now! So I did. And the book just . . . totally. did. not. work. I tried it in first person, I tried it in third person with multiple narrators. I tried a myriad configurations of the plot, and all told probably re-wrote the story ten times. I finally hammered out a semi-workable draft that I was semi-happy with, and at least worked better than anything else that had gone before.
Now, don’t get me wrong, within that draft were elements that I really liked. I loved my two main characters. There were scenes that made (and still make) me smile. Even my agent liked it, so at least I knew I wasn’t entirely fooling myself that there was something there. But it was the start of what I intended to be a series, and when I tried to move on to write book #2, again, it just. did. not. work. The foundation I’d slogged through to build in book #1 just became a pure slog when I tried to advance into a continuation of the story. 4 years ago, almost to this day, actually, I finally quit. Closed the file, opened up a new one, and started an entirely different book in what turned out to be an 11 book series (that’s not published under this pen name). Suffice it to say, I had absolutely zero regrets about quitting on what I now thought of as my Impossible Book Idea.

And yet . . . there was something about that idea, those characters and their world that refused to entirely let me go. After writing my 11 book series, I jumped into working on a collaborative series with my dad, and that one (actually published under this pen name) has been equally great. But in the down time between drafts on those books, I suddenly had an idea of how I could resurrect the Impossible Book Idea and change things up so that it would (maybe) work. I tried. It did work . . . better, anyway. I got a draft of a new book 1 written that I was pretty happy with. Then it came time to start on book #2, and I felt like I was in an author’s version of Groundhog Day, because it was the exact same deal as with the first go-round of The Impossible Book. Book 1: characters and scenes that made me smile. Book 2: utter slog.
I quit. Again! This time, I was pretty sure I wasn’t ever going to go back. Writing is my vocation, my passion, my dream job . . . but it’s also a business and the way I support my family, and there’s only so much precious time I’m willing to devote to an idea that never seems to go anywhere. I still loved my two main characters and elements of their story. But at this point, I’d made peace with the fact that it just wasn’t a story I was going to ever tell. I walked away, started on a new series. And then suddenly, like lightening, an inspiration for The Impossible Book Idea hit me.
Now, at this point, I was wary. I’d seen this movie before. Been there done that, gotten the I Quit on the Impossible Book t-shirt. I pretty much resisted even thinking about opening the Impossible Book file with everything I had. But it just wouldn’t let me go. It got louder and louder and louder in my mind until I literally had no choice but to give this new incarnation a try. And you know what? The story is working. Really working this time, not just reluctantly allowing itself to be dragged and squashed and hammered into semi-workable form. It’s real, it’s solid in a way that it’s never been before. I’ve changed the time period completely, I’ve changed huge swaths of my main characters’ backstories, and I’ve cut 90% of the secondary characters and entirely overhauled the plot.
So is it even still the Impossible Book Idea? Not really. Maybe. Sort of. It’s nothing like the idea that first popped into my head 6 years ago, that’s for sure. And yet my main characters at heart– who they really are, apart from their backstories– is much the same. Because when it came right down to it, that was always the element that was refusing to let me go: the core of who those two main characters were, and their journey towards each other.
I tell this story for two reasons: first, to let you know that if you have a story idea that just. will. not. work. . . it’s okay to walk away. It’s okay to close the file in mid-draft and let yourself start something new. It’s okay to never come back. But it’s also okay to hold out a little bit of hope even in the midst of walking away, because if it’s truly a story that you’re meant to tell, then it won’t let you go. One day, when you least expect it, The Impossible Book may suddenly turn possible after all.
What about you? Have you struggled with an impossible book? Have you had a story idea that just refused to let you go?

About Anna ElliottAnna Elliott is an author of historical fiction and fantasy. Her first series, the Twilight of Avalon trilogy, is a retelling of the Trystan and Isolde legend. She wrote her second series, the Pride and Prejudice Chronicles, chiefly to satisfy her own curiosity about what might have happened to Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and all the other wonderful cast of characters after the official end of Jane Austen’s classic work. She enjoys stories about strong women, and loves exploring the multitude of ways women can find their unique strengths. Anna lives in the Washington DC area with her husband and three children.
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"Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research. "
Wilson Mizner

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Fast fact about writing

It has been said that a monkey, randomly typing away on a typewriter (in the days when typewriters replaced the pen or plume as the preferred instrument of writing) could re-create Shakespeare-- but only if it lived long enough (this is known as the infinite monkey theorem).