I'm stuck. Way stuck. I have this high fantasy story I've been working on for... years, unfortunately, and it's become a burden on me. Every time I move a step forward with it, I eventually move two steps backward. I've talked about it on here multiple times, trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it. But no amount of threads have helped me. Everything about this story gives me a headache. I've been trying to type this explanation for a half hour, but everything I put down sounds wrong. I can't even talk about it properly, so how am I supposed to write or plan it properly? It started off beautifully. I had a good intro and good characters. But around chapter six, I realized I didn't know where I wanted it to go. And everything I wrote just fell flat. It wasn't right. So I scrapped it and reworked the story. Then I reworked it again. And again. And again. Until eventually, I can't even look at it without giving myself a brain freeze. Literally just thinking about where to go from here makes my brain stop. I have so many issues with the story. I've referred to it as the "Big Book of Cliches" multiple times, because that's what it is. There's a prophesy predicting the rise of my character. She's the daughter of royalty and a God. But she was raised an orphan. Her magic is stronger than any God/dess. She eventually becomes queen. She defeats the Bad Guy. It's been done before. Many times. So I wanted to make the setting and the characters different. I created my own religion, where the Gods are closer to people than Beings in the Sky. I created my own races of magical creatures, where elementals are considered personifications of the Gods themselves and are highly respected. I created my own world map, complete with many different types of terrain and cultures. But that's where it stops. I have the basic story. Prophesy about a powerful girl. Girl gets put into hiding. Girl becomes queen. Girl trains to use her power. Girl falls in love with Bad Guy, not realizing he's the Bad Guy. Bad Guy takes over the city. Then girl takes out Bad Guy. But trying to figure out the who, what, when, where, and why of it is where I get stuck. Who is the Bad Guy? I have it between the one guy or the one guy with a group of people backing him. I also have Good Guys doing Bad Guy things. Either to protect the country or because they are actually Bad Guy disguised as Good Guys. Who are the characters? I've changed the story so many times, I have a large group of characters, and I can't decide who to include and who to ditch. What is the point of the story? What is the theme? What magic does my character have? What struggles will she go through? When does the drama need to start? When does she realize her background, her heritage? When does she figure out that the guy she's in love with is actually the Bad Guy? Where does my MC live? Does she live close to the castle (hiding in plain sight)? Or does she live far away from the castle (in which case, traveling to the castle to become queen would take a significant amount of time and possibly bore the reader)? Where does she run to when her castle gets overrun? Why does a God go to the mortal world and "mate" with my MC's mother? Why do they hide her? Why don't they go with her? Why does my MC live where she does? Why doesn't her father reveal himself to her when my MC becomes queen? Why doesn't my MC realize the Bad Guy is the Bad Guy? So many whys. As you can plainly see, I'm having a constant battle with this story. I haven't looked at it for a long time. I've been working on an urban fantasy that is completely planned, just needs written. But today, I got inspired to work on this one. And as soon as I put the pencil to the notebook, my headache and brain freeze started. All I can write in my notebook now is, "This story sucks," and other obscenities. The shitty thing is.. When I actually lay down my plot on paper, without all the characters and details, it doesn't sound bad. It sounds like a solid story. It's everything else that's causing the problem. I don't know what to do here. I've tried "just writing," but I can't really just write until I figure out a proper backstory. I've tried putting it away for a while, but it still gives me a headache. Maybe I should put it away for longer? I've tried going back to the basics and writing what I KNOW I want to have, like my MC and her queen mother. But even that doesn't help, because I can't get what I planned previously out of my mind. What would you do in this situation? Do you think it's time I just scrap this and call it a loss? Or is there some way I can recover it? Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.