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Unfinished Novels

Self-proclaimed “six-time failed novelist” Steve Wilson began My Unfinished Novels to give writers a place to “publish” or at least place those pages of what once started with great hope and enthusiasm, and that have ended up – for whatever reason – unfinished.

Wilson accepts submissions of unfinished works, then publishes them on the site with the book’s title, author’s name, the number of pages or words completed, a short summary of the work, and a reason for not finishing novel. This information appears on the front page for the site (blog entries) with a link to a PDF of the first ten pages of the novel. Readers can leave comments.

The site is still in beta, and the blog format allows for easy scrolling through the newest entries, but there are no other ways to search through the content other than by the monthly entries.

After a few visits to the site, I admit I haven’t gone into any serious reading beyond the front page. I’ve actually enjoyed reading the “Reason Abandoned” for each story, some are humorous, some painful, and some, so common with reasons we tend to “abandon” anything in our lives. And some of the writers, while unsuccessful in completing their novels, profess success in other areas. Realizing novel writing wasn’t their thing, they pursued other genres with better success. It’s entertaining, affirming, and insightful to read these comments – for writers of any genre or length.

Wilson himself actually has been successful in publishing the nonfiction book, The Boys From Little Mexico: A Season Chasing The American Dream (Beacon Press, 2010). Still, he writes, “My Unfinished Novels exists to explore that idea: why was this novel abandoned? The answers, hopefully, will elucidate and entertain.” In this, I do say, Wilson is successful yet again.

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