There are many reasons why your book takes a turn in the wrong direction or stalls out right in the middle of writing it.
But here are three things to think about, for now, that may help you get back on the right rack.
#1. You Don’t Have A Locked-Down Premise For Your Book.
Forget about outlines and synopses - you need to be able to sum up the totality of your entire manuscript into one sentence - for three different reasons.
First (and the most important for sales), is that every place where you list your book on the internet will only allow you a limited number of characters to describe it. And it's a publisher's nightmare to try to figure out a book that can't be summed up in one sentence. Most times, they will take a pass and you won't even know why.
Second, if you self-publish, and a potential reader can’t digest your book's idea in ten seconds, or isn’t at least intrigued, they will click right past it at on online bookshop.
Third, you must focus your book into one single idea in order to finish writing it. You will get off-track eventually if you have too many angles or story lines in your book. You have to have a main focus for your book in order to write it coherently. And so that readers can follow it.
For a hypothetical example, here is the premise for any number of books.
“Upon moving into their New England home, a young couple finds that it is haunted.”
Now this can be a work of fiction, or nonfiction, and inspired by real events or not. But the premise is crystal clear. And already, your mind has taken off with several possible story lines for this idea. Which is exactly what your reader needs to do be able to do with your book’s premise.
For a real life example, here is the premise of my book “Write Yourself Rich.”
“HOW TO WRITE A BOOK: A writing plan to start you writing and then make it all the way through the process of finishing, editing, and publishing a book.”
That’s it. The book is 344 pages long, but the message is very clear. And if you are interested in the process of writing, you know that there are a thousand more directions the book could have taken. But it doesn’t. Because I cut out over one hundred pages from the first draft. Which were all just ramblings that didn’t support my one-sentence premise.
And no one wants to sift through all of that to get to the main point.
#2. You Don’t Know Enough About Your Subject To Write A Whole Book.
Whether you are writing a novel or a self-help book, you may be stopped halfway through because you have run out of things to say. No worries, though, because this is an easy fix.
If you are writing a novel, look up newspaper or periodical websites for the locale you are writing about. The richness of the local history you are missing will surprise you. Including area descriptions, defunct establishments, local legends, and local festivals or holidays that you can use to get excited about your novel again.
If you are writing a self-help book, look for clinical studies concerning or related to your topic. A self-help book can never reference too many clinical studies to make its point and also make it more credible. And there are so many university studies on everything you can think of. Just type your topic words into your browser, along with the words “university study.” You will find much more than what you think.
#3. You Can’t Let Go Of Irrelevant Writing In Your Book.
When you’ve written the perfect paragraph, sentence, page, or chapter, it is hard to let it go. Even when it doesn’t fit anywhere in your manuscript. And you know it doesn’t support the one-sentence premise you are now following. But it is so well-written, you have to keep it.
But you can’t keep it. Because while this paragraph or page is an example of how you are growing as a writer, it contributes nothing to your current manuscript.
In fact, this is the page, paragraph, or chapter that is derailing it.
Nevertheless, since you have a computer, it is very easy to take this portion of your manuscript, and then cut and paste it into another document for safe-keeping.
Then you can print it out and frame it for everyone to see. To show everyone that you are indeed a real writer on their way to writing a bestseller.
And I’m not being sarcastic.
So, to sum it up, your book is off track or stalled in the middle for some very simply reasons. Which may also lead to doubting yourself as a writer.
Which you should never do. Because just the fact that you sat down to write something makes you a writer. Most people don't even get that far. So focus on these three things and you will have a commercially viable manuscript.
3 Steps To Get Your Book Back On Track:
Step 1. Write a one-sentence premise that is intriguing and makes someone want to know more.
Step 2. Do some more research. If you are writing a self-help book, look for university studies. If you are writing a novel, look up the place you are writing about. Or, a similar place if you make up the setting.
Step 3. Referring back to your one-sentence premise, delete any sentences, pages, or paragraphs that don't support it. And don't go back and change your premise (if you have a good one) just to keep all of your writing intact. Cutting well-written prose out of your manuscript will be the hardest thing you have to do. But if you do, you will find later on that your manuscript, overall, will be so much better. And a best-selling book is what we are going for.
I know you can do it.
See also: https://brenthollister.blogspot.com/