If you’re a writer, you probably know that point where you’ve worked on a story for so long that if you read the manuscript one more time your brain will melt like a clock painted by Salvador Dali. As each revision and layer of polishing progresses, your love for your story dies a little more, until finally you reach the point where you loathe it. The person who said 'Familiarity breeds contempt' was probably a writer on his/her twentieth revision.
Sticking it out all the way to the point of hate isn’t easy. If you’re like me, you have a bunch of stories waiting to be told, and the next one up in the queue is a saucy little minx who whispers delightful promises in your ear about how easy she is compared to the awful one you’re slogging through. She’s really a siren luring you toward a bruising dash on the rocks, but you won’t find that out until you’re drowning in revisions of her.
As many times as I’ve grown to hate a story I’m working on, I have yet to scrap everything and go back to the beginning. Characters change as you write them. They come into focus. The grumpy jerk in chapter one turns out to have a reluctant soft spot in chapter five. The problem with starting over is that you’ll never envision that character in their original first chapter state because in your mind, they’ve already become the chapter five version. You can’t unknow what you’ve revealed and discovered about them. Or, at least, I can’t.
There was a point with the novel I’m currently working on where I seriously considered retyping the entire 60,000 word manuscript. I’d moved scenes, cut some, inserted new ones, and tweaked the rest so many times that I was afraid that the entire flow of the story was compromised. Thankfully, before I started re-typing it, I took a three-month break, then sat down with the manuscript and got a fresh look at it as a whole. If I had retyped it from scratch, I probably would have abandoned the story by the second chapter, because the only thing worse than reading the same damn sentence a hundred times is typing and reading it the hundred and first time.