Discipline and focus are key elements to finishing a book. It may be rife with errors and boring, but at least there is the satisfaction of completing it. It is a feeling of satisfaction you will never get from starting and putting various ‘ideas’ aside to start another.
If you go through and edit the content you can fix many problems. One of the main reasons it might be boring is the ‘show don’t tell’ rule. Check your had/did – all those past tense words to start. Instead of a ‘back-story’ try to incorporate as much information in your present, not your past. Sally screamed her continuous anger – or a long paragraph on her previous temper tantrums. Either way the reader understands Sally has a bad temper (show her progression to ‘had’ – don’t just say she changes.)
Flashbacks are common today in stories. I’m still out on the verdict. I don’t really like flashbacks in books or a movie but I might be in a minority as it seems to be selling. I am a stubborn reader and movie watcher. In the 70’s I noticed many movies where there were no happy endings. Some had downright depressing endings with characters that against everything they experienced or learned became horrible, greedy, mean characters. Some people believe this is ‘reality’. My experience is very much ‘life is what you make it.’. There was a period in time where I stopped watching shows except comedies or happy ending stories. I know what I like and make no apologies.
I recently watched Hidalgo yet again. What is so inspiring, amazing – it is a fiction version of reality. Hidalgo (a horse) and his owner Frank T. Hopkins actually overcame what seemed insurmountable odds. It is a fact and it doesn’t have a sad ending. Yet it is reality. Frank has flaws but in the end they don’t consume him. Don’t give up.
Write from your own personal angle and it’s much easier than trying to follow the fads of the day. If you don’t believe there is evilness inside every person and you believe there are real heroes with goodness inside, write what you believe. It’s difficult to write going against what you believe and this might cause you to never complete a story. It doesn’t matter whether it’s popular today or not. It may even become the ‘fad’ of tomorrow.
To summon those sad feelings – I have discovered there is more than enough grief and unhappiness in every day living. I am also fortunate enough to see goodness and joy. I don’t need sadness to consume or occupy my mind completely.
As a writer of completed novels I haven’t written fads and I have enjoyed completing stories. These stories give me satisfaction on a task finished. I never care what is popular so much as what I love to write.