I must confess, it is hard for me to finish manuscripts. I don’t know if you have this problem, but my computer drive is full of partially finished stories that I’ve started and struggled to finish. So the next few posts are going to be very therapeutic for me. Let’s jump right into the reasons manuscripts don’t get finished.


1. The author is working on too many projects to finish one. It’s far better to complete one manuscript than to go halfway on two. I have about two manuscripts I’m editing now and two that I’m working on, which are far from finished. Guilty!

2. The author is unwilling and/or unable to set time aside for writing.  Obviously, if you call yourself a writer or blogger, you spend some time each day typing away. Perhaps you set aside a regular time, but aren’t consistent about actually using it. Let’s say you get distracted with your blog as I do or Facebook or social networking. Guilty!

3. The author gives up on the manuscript and starts another. Moving on could be a good idea if you’re more likely to finish the next one.  But what will be different about this next one?  Many authors switch from one project to the next to the next without actually finishing any. Guilty!

One of the most common reasons an author will give up on a manuscript is if the main character doesn’t seem to be working. If that’s the issue, you could probably salvage a substantial portion of the story by working in a second point-of-view character.

3.1: When is the best time to give up on a manuscript?  If you’re just in the brainstorming phase, I don’t think it costs very much to shelve a premise and try another.  The more time I put into an idea, the harder I try to salvage it rather than toss it out altogether.  One possibility is to consider a new main character as mentioned above. Consider a different genre.  For example, switch from superhero action to detective/mystery or vice-versa. The story will feel radically different even though most of the plot events could remain. Guilty!

More later on why writers don’t finish.