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Can you love a story too much to be able to write it?

  • Thread starter Deleted member 4265
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Yes, I think you can love, or be too close to a story to tell it. I've seen this more in poetry than stories, but the same is true. You have to have a certain amount of emotional separation in order to accurately tell the story in a way that it appeals to a wider audience than just yourself.

I have a few stories (and poems) that I continue to try and write and will likely continue to until I get them right. Like you I feel they are excellent stories but I just can't get them in the shape I feel they deserve so I keep trying.....and I will keep trying....
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I'd suggest taking a break. Put it away in a drawer, or a folder on your computer and just let your story, and yourself, breathe for a while. Give yourself an exact date on which you can look at it again (I'd suggest at least 3 months or more). In the meantime write other things, read books you love, study the craft, read books you hate and figure out why you don't like them.

Time doesn't heal all (in my opinion), but it does give the benefit of clarity and perspective, which is hard to maintain when you have such a deep emotional and psychological investment in something. Don't give up though, it sounds like your story is something very special.


Felis amatus
I used to have a similar problem. Shelved all of my stories because they weren't as perfect as I envisioned them. Finally started sending some out and sold some and that changed my outlook. Don't let "perfection" be the enemy of getting good stories out there.

Caged Maiden

Article Team
Your masterpiece novel is like a good friend, a first love. It has a special place in your heart, and maybe nothing will ever be better than it. But it doesn't need to be your last. Try writing something that isn't close to your life or your struggles. In fact, try the opposite. Rather than writing a story about a past failure or a tragic event, try something about a success, a lucky turn, a journey into the unknown. i've had absolutely no success with novels that I love so far. They've failed to impress my critters time and again. They are unfinished and unpolished. They are what they are, works in progress.

But I've had a bit of success with silly stories I wrote for challenges. People liked them, asked to share them with their friends because they enjoyed them so much. Even had two published. I don't really think of that as success, but it's hard to deny they got further than my novels. It's too hard to learn on your first love. Maybe like how we aren't the best partners to our actual first loves in the romance department. We often have too much personal growing to do before we're actually ready to fully love a person, and so our first relationships often deteriorate because we're incomplete as individuals. It's too as writers, too.

Give yourself a break from that one work, not give up on it, but give yourself distance, a separation for a time, while you grow as an individual.i'm doing that right now, too. i had a novel I loved, and I thought it was nearly done, but I spent a hole year working on nothing else, and in the end, it was still problematic in too many ways to finish right now. So I moved on to another. And I asked for help, from my friends who have strengths I don't have right now. I need help organizing, plotting, and staying on track. I can handle character development, dialogue, and conflict, but I can't keep consistent with the big plot elements, I let them get out of control in complexity. So I tried to approach this novel with fresh eyes, and a cold heart. Objectively, as I can't manage right now with the other one.

Hope that helps to maybe put things into perspective.


Article Team
I've mentioned this before, but each of us has what some call the 'Golden Idea'. It's the best thing ever, and it's a story that if told right will be the best story ever.

There are a lot of aspects to this. As Caiged Maiden mentioned, it's like our first love. It's perfect, at least we remember it that way.

We build up the idea of the story to lofty heights, and our emotions follow. The ideas make us feel a certain way and we want to share those emotions with others, because the experience is awesome.

But we also build the expectations of what that story should be on top of that. And the expectations gets so high, they're impossible to reach.

We hold onto the story so tight we smother it. We shape it this way or that and bend it in so many directions to make it just right it breaks.

This is what happened with my 'Golden Idea'. After dreaming about the story for 15 years, writing it for another three, over 4 major drafts, I walked away. It just wasn't a healthy writing relationship.

I may return some day, but for now, I'm seeing other stories. All of them I start off liking and as the relationship develops, I grow to love them.

Edit: Here's a Writing Excuses episode where they talk a little about the golden idea. Maybe you can gain something from it. Writing Excuses Season 2 Episode 33: How To Not Be Overwhelmed | Writing Excuses
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