Working in my story analysis course, we pretty much distilled the success of a story down to two key factors: premise (the basic idea of the story) and execution (the unfolding of plot, dialogue, character development, and everything else used to express the premise). If a story‘s premise is familiar, it could still be a good one depending on how the storyteller executes it. If, on the other hand, the story is poorly executed, then nothing in the world is going to save it. It’s doomed to be regarded as brilliantly bad. Doomed, I say!
My novella Undead and Inhuman is an example of the latter. Faithfully giving it a generous share of attention, I’ve killed that project. I can’t help but feel a little bit of disappointment in that. I tried making a novel out of it last summer, and then a novella in the fall, but it just didn’t seem to work.
And it didn’t work because I failed in its execution. The premise was amazing. The idea of vampires fighting aliens was a potent one, and everyone I talked to about it was receptive of the idea. But then that’s where the high ended. The plot wasn’t thorough enough, the characters too flimsy, and staying power of the first draft ultimately lacking.
I’m tempted to say that the project isn’t fully dead and that I’ll resurrect it at some point in the future, but, hey, fool me twice, shame on me, right? Who knows? Maybe I will go back to it one day, but I won’t force myself into it. Like many good things, it’ll come around when I least expect it and when the timing is right.