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On Shelving a WIP

Some quick background: While Shark's Eye was with beta readers, I drafted a YA fantasy romcom I called Stealing Fortune. It had a great narrative voice, a ton of fun tropes, and an excellent enemies-to-lovers ship.

And now, I'm shelving it.

I know it can be hard for writers to decide which WIPs are worth their time; I wanted to share my thought process in case it helps others.

I’m not a “shiny new WIP” person. If anything, I’m a “stubborn old WIP” person, because when I get an idea, it sticks with me for a long time, and it’s hard for me to give it up. Shark’s Eye was my only WIP for a long time because even though the early drafts had issues, all of them were fixable.

Stealing Fortune is different. I love the narrative voice, and I honestly loved drafting it. It proved to me that I could knock out a solid first draft in a short amount of time. But what I don’t love is the world. I wrote it as a traditional fantasy to challenge myself to build a fantasy world, but here’s the thing - I don’t want to build a fantasy world. I have much more fun blending magic into a contemporary setting.

Then, there’s the issue of publishing. It’s important to write what you love, but it’s also important to be realistic, and realistically, I’d have a hard time pitching this novel. I’d need to streamline the concept, which means streamlining the worldbuilding, which might not be worth the trouble.

It’s hard for me to set aside a project that’s been in my head for a while because I stubbornly like to finish the things I start, but this is the right choice. If there’s one thing I’ve learned by diving into the query trenches, it’s that a novel needs to be easily pitchable. Why force myself to revise a difficult story when I could start a one set in a genre I love with a pitch that’s easy to explain? 

So instead of working on the second draft of Stealing Fortune, I'm going to write the first draft of my "Magic Road Trip WIP." I've already had a blast brainstorming, and I can't wait to start writing so I can see the characters come to life.

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