You are working on a project and you have a nagging sense that the book is not going well. You work on your text, and you change, this, that, and the other thing. Small stuff, really. Been there. Done that. The negative nagging persists. If you are a reader—and I do not know how you can be writer without being a reader—your intuition tells you that something is still wrong.
I vote for trusting your intuition. If you sense something is wrong, I am betting something is wrong, missing, not written. Still, you do not know what to do. This is why society has priests, psychologists, partners, spouses, best friends, book-writing groups, and editors. You can determine your own order of importance—for insight into your work.
Because here comes the hard part. Sometimes you need to make a BIG change. As in life, so it is in writing: big changes are hard to make. What kind of changes? A fundamental shift in plot, character, ending, beginning, middle …. Something BIG is needed. Believe me, such changes—as in life—are very hard to do. Been there. Tried to do it.
Years ago, I was teaching a writing class and a student wrote something truly banal. I said to this writer, “Is this anything like life? Anything like your life?”
“No,” the writer whispered.
I said, “Why not make it like life as you have truly experienced it?”
There were tears in this writer’s eyes. “Because no one ever gave me permission.”
The next thing this writer offered me was terrific.