I’ve been working on a writing project for some time now, but because it wasn’t working—well, I liked it, but the amount of storylines and characters, among some other stuff, finally persuaded me to set it down for the time being.

Now, I’ve started on a new one, one better suited for my current writing abilities. But, I don’t… like it as much? I mean, I’m satisfied with several characters, and that there’s one overarching villain, and the world building is okay but I’m still working on it. But, I was wondering, how do I get the same almost-obsession that I had with my previous one?



Hi Lisa,

I understand, I’ve been there.

Most writers are drawn to specific kinds of moods, themes, characters, or relationships. If you figure out exactly what draws you in, you can probably replicate it in another story. Everyone’s different, so you’ll need to do some experimenting. I have an article related to this with some tips that you might find useful. Looking at stories that you’re a big fan of can really help. Sometimes it comes down to stuff that may feel a little cheap at first – you loved that character because she was badass and she reminded you of yourself, or you were into that love interest because of all the angst. We like what we like.

Another possibility is that the previous story drew you in so much because of all the investment you put in it. I still don’t have a world that feels as deep and intriguing as the one from my abandoned story, but the world got that way because of all the time I spent thinking through it and adding details. It made it feel real to me. Your new story might just need time.

Some variation in interest level between stories is also normal, and it doesn’t mean no story will ever pull you in like your previous one did. I try to give my stories the right length for my level of interest. So if an idea is just fun but not emotionally compelling, I make it a short story if I can. If it’s really compelling to me, I’ll consider making it a novel.

I wish I could just give you surefire steps for recreating your obsession, but this is such an individual thing. Regardless, I’m sure you’ll figure it out with time.


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