There are times when you just aren’t prepared to tell a story. Or you’re searching for just the right way to tell a story. Or, you just don’t have the internal tools yet in order to tell the story—you haven’t lived enough. This happens.
I was in the Marine Corps, and I heard a couple of my superiors talking about hunting and survivalist stuff. One of them was talking about making his own bullets and then went on to describe the process. I was fascinated, and I immediately thought about a ghost whose ashes were mixed in with the bullets and getting revenge on the people who killed him.
I didn’t have anything else besides the vague idea. I wrote it down and put it in my wallet. It was on a post-it for about a decade. I literally sat on this idea for about ten years, bringing it out every so often to toy with it and see what I could do with it before putting it back—until I had a conversation with a friend and the floodgates opened and I broke the entire story in one conversation, and then went on to write the entire thing in about two days. I knew the story beats, and some things were done on the fly, but the entire story was typed up in two days.
I wasn’t prepared to tell that story when I first thought of it. I had more living to do.
I have several stories like that right now (which I’m hoping to get out much sooner than ten years). One is on cryptozoology. Another on the subject matter of Charles Fort. Another is about spirits. I take these out every so often, play around with them, see if I can add anything, and then ultimately put them back with a sigh.
It happens to all of us. You can’t force the story. They will come in their own time. Work on other things instead. Work on the stories you’re ready for. The others will come along when they’re ready.