Is My Story On Its Last Leg? – 5 Signs It’s Time To Move On To A New Story

In my first year of college I drove an old beat up car. We called it the Flinstone Car because there was a hole in the driver side floor that we covered with a welcome mat.

That car had more dings than I had college papers. The fender hung slightly off-center and the engine stalled as often as possible. That car was on its last leg.

Have you been working on the same story FOREVER? The manuscript is complete. You’ve edited and edited. You’ve pitched and pitched. The story seems to be standing on its last leg.

First of all, do not be discouraged. We have all been there. Most writers don’t publish until their third or fourth novel, sometimes even more.

Rest assured you are in good company. The good news is that published authors often go back to rework their old stories once they are published and those stories get published, too.

5 Signs It’s Time To Move On To A New Story:

1. This is your first completed book. If this is your first completed novel and you have refined it to the best of your ability, then move on. Your writing will get better each time.

2. You’ve pitched this book to several agents/editors who are interested in your genre and haven’t been contracted. This may be a sign that your writing isn’t quite ready or the story idea isn’t what they are looking for at this time.

3. You don’t know how to make it better. We grow as writers over time. It is important to know when you have done your personal best and move on.

4. You dread writing because you are sick of your own story. If you are sick of the story you are working on, move on to something new. Great edits don’t come from frustration with your own story.

5. Guilt is holding you to this story. A lot of times writers fear moving on to a new story because they are afraid it means giving up on the story they are working on. Quite the contrary. It just means putting it aside for a while so you can come back later with new skills and a fresh eye.

How do you know it is time to move on to a new story? OR How can you tell an author has written in a series of books for too long?


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

8 thoughts on “Is My Story On Its Last Leg? – 5 Signs It’s Time To Move On To A New Story

  1. Patti Shene says:

    Really liked this post. It will help me rethink my writing goals and consider moving on! Thanks!

  2. Great advice, Michelle! The first book I completed semi-finaled in a few contests, but it had mega-holes in it. I didn’t know that until years later, but I told myself that it was more fun to move on to write a new novel while I waited for a publisher to agree to print it. I told myself writing another novel was practice for the REAL thing. Ha! I’m still not sure which book will be the REAL thing, but for now I’m having fun “moving on” to a new novel after completing each one, hoping that one day I’ll know how to fix those holes to make those other novels more marketable. Writing takes so much practice, but I couldn’t imagine a life without it.

  3. I can tell when an author needs to move one–he or she keeps repeating key phrases that showed up in an earlier book. I’m asking all my crit partners to be on the look out(BOLO) for if or when I do that. lol

  4. Amber S. says:

    I love point #5! Thank you for this helpful list! 🙂


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