3 Truths About Creating a Book Cover

More Than Writing

When Your Book Goes Sour




You’re writing your first novel. You get to page 155—155!—and then you stop, stuck. So you do more research. You wait, hoping that time will help. You reread it, because you need to keep all those complicated threads of plot straight in your head. Nothing helps.

Then you realize you made a plot error on page 86. Page 86. Everything after that has to be gutted.

The book sits for years, untouched.

Sound crazy? This is what happened to me. People stopped asking me when my book was going to be finished. And I stopped writing for years while that albatross sat on my shoulders. I dreaded even looking at those pages.

Eventually, there came a breaking point. I needed to write something.

So I started a story with no expectations. It felt so good to be writing again. I liked the people and what was happening in their lives and most of all, the joy of creating made everything in my life brighter. (That’s not to say there weren’t days and weeks of hair pulling as I wondered what was going to happen next on the page.)

Most of all, it didn’t count. It wasn’t the serious mindset of this is my first novel. It was fun.

But the joke was on me—that story grew and grew—and is now in the production stage as my first completed novel. Go figure.

Has something like this happened to you? Step away from the problem and start something new. Time will help you figure out if the first piece can be salvaged or not. And while you’re waiting, write something. It may surprise you.



* Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  • Heather • January 26, 2015 at 11:40 am

    This happens to me a lot! So much so that I often work on two projects at once so I can set the other aside for the required amount of breathing room. Good luck on your second book, and perhaps when it’s done you’ll see just what needs to be done with your first novel.

    • J. M. Levinton • January 26, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      The first one would need to be completely revamped and I’m thinking maybe one day in the future…but for now, I’m looking ahead to something different. 🙂 Working on two projects at once sounds like a challenge!

  • chris • January 26, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Wow you have given me hope! I have had my story in my head ever since my oldest nice was born, and somehow it never seems to take shape when I try to put it in writing. My hands do not type as fast as my brain goes. So I get all muddled up and frustrated.
    I am deaf so telling me to record it via voice is useless.

    Guess I will just have to try again eh?

    Congratulations, my friend. I am so happy for you. I look forward to reading your novel.

    • J. M. Levinton • January 26, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      LOL I would never tell you to record via voice! But I would suggest that you write a sentence here and there, just to get an idea of a scene. Then maybe…flesh them out and tie them all together? With my current book, I’d hit a plot hole, jump over it, keep writing and then suddenly the answer would come and I’d go back and fill in the hole.

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