Oh, Defenders. The bane of my existence. (I say this affectionately on the heels of one of the best days of writing I've had in awhile.)
Defenders is a project I've been rolling around in my head for a long time. Well, okay, really more like a year, but that's a long time for me to sit on an idea without writing it or discarding it. It's about a city called Rafcate, which was attacked and nearly wiped out 150 years ago. To prevent this from ever happening again, they imposed a mandatory military service for every witch, mage, werewolf, demon, berserker and fairy over the age of sixteen in the city.
The story follows a team of girls who are in their first year of service: Laurie, Shawn, Kali, ZJ, Alexi and Meg. Not long into their training, a dead body shows up on their doorstep with a message. This is just the cap to the pretty weird things that are happening all around. Laurie and the team are determined to figure out what's going on, no matter what the cost.
I'm roughly 1/4 of the way through the first draft, and I have to say, it feels like I'm pulling teeth. Slowly. Without Novocaine. I don't know if it's just a weak plot, or if I'm really not cut out for complex world-building like this, but whatever it is, I'd love to fix it. And I feel like I spend a lot of time whining about how difficult writing this is for me.
But I'm not ready to abandon it yet. First of all, I love the concept, maybe more than I ever have with one of my ideas before. Secondly, I know bits and pieces of book 5 (the final book in the series), and I know that if I can get there, it will be awesome. Once I realized this was Laurie's story instead of the team's as a whole, pieces of the end fell into place for me. So maybe, if I can ever get there, that part might be easier to write.
The other thing is that I've already invested a lot of time in this. I actually did world-building! I never do world-building. I'm much more likely to wing it and hope everything falls into place eventually. And every time I think about that, my resolve to finish this book grows. I love my characters. I want to tell their stories.
And I want to prove to myself that I don't give up just because it gets a little difficult to write. I've already done that, many times, to the point where I thought I'd never finish anything again. For four years after the collapse of my third novel attempt I started and abandoned projects on a regular basis. I'm afraid that if I fall back into old habits, I won't be able to pull myself back out.
So my question is: what do you do when you just can't seem to get anything write for a story? At what point are you willing to put it down? Are you the kind of writer who just keeps pushing until you finally break the wall, or does putting the story down help you refocus on it? And when is it okay to admit that a project just isn't working?