When to Give Up

Painting by AK Anderson I’m pretty embarrassed about posting this painting here. It’s not all that good for one thing. It refers to a story I won’t finish.  But it does prove a point.

This is a painting created to help me explore a story that I’ve tossed into the compost heap. A few bits of that story might take seed and sprout new life. (We had the best tomatoes that way one summer.)  But for the most part, this story will be folded into the creative loam.

The file is called “Aphrodite Reborn”, and the girl in the painting is named Maggie George.

The draft of “Aphrodite” is amusing, but it doesn’t suck me in. The premise feels like a rehash of everything I’ve read in the Urban Fantasy genre.  It includes Fae, vampires, werewolves. It’s not a love triangle but a very awkward square. (Mags is the reincarnation of Aphrodite of course everyone is in love with her.)


I worked on this story while I did Holly Lisle’s writing course. It kept me on track, gave me something to write.

This was the story I was supposed to have been working on that crisp January day in 2011, when my friend Lisa (who blogs about organic baby stuff) met me at Joe’s coffee shop.  I remember the two of us struggling to find a free breaker strip for our laptop cords, delighting in the fact that Joe’s would make me a dairy-free latte with my tiny carton of rice milk.

I opened my draft of Aphrodite. After getting settled in, and catching up with Lisa for a moment, I remember sighing.

“You know what?” I said to Lisa, “I’ve had a story that’s been rattling around in my head for a while now. I’m just going to jot down a few notes on that before I get back to my current piece.”

A month later, I had a completed draft.

Two years later, I’m shopping that novel.

Sometimes knowing when to give a story up is more important than knowing when it’s time to write a story. Maggie, nothing against you, sweetie, but I’ve got more important tales to tell.


3 thoughts on “When to Give Up

    • I agree. Shelving can be permanent or temporary for me. I find that my response to a story a few months later can help me figure out how much I resonate with the idea. Aphrodite is permanently shelved. The good thing about knowing that, though, is also that I know I can safely cherry-pick the tidbits that I do love and reuse them later. That’s why I call it “composting”. I never really get rid of anything, I just make it into something different.

  1. Pingback: Random Poetry Post – Persephone-ish? « A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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