I’ve gotten a lot better about finishing stories than when I first started but sometimes….
One of my current stories is nearing the end and I realized it’s just not working. Now, it’s easy to fall into the trap of a lack of confidence in a story even though it’s fine. I’ve been there plenty of times. The trick is to figure out when there’s a real problem or if it’s just nerves, fear, and self-doubt.
In this case, I could see what the problem was. When you head for the conclusion of a story you want to try to bring as many of the story threads all together at once for one big payoff, the “climax” of the story, followed by a resolution and denouement. In this case the various elements are too diffuse. I’ve got less of a “bang” and more of a “fizzle.” Fixing it will require ripping out at least the last half of the story, maybe drop some of the elements entirely (although the work on them is not wasted–they can be used in another story later).
So, for the time being, the thing to do is set this one aside and work on another project. Come back to do the major surgery on it when I can look at it with fresh eyes.