March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
I have a trilogy that I started when I was 12 and finished when I was 27. Each book runs in the neighborhood of 100,000 words. I’d like to think that it shows determination and ambition and an “I CAN do it!” thing, if not actual skill.
See, the writing isn’t awesome and the plot is weak and to rebuild it into something … “better” would be more herculean than it’s worth.
I know, because between ages 27-30, I tried my hand at editing it. EVERYONE says you should do a once over before submission to an agent, so that’s what I did. Repeatedly.
I learned a lot from that editing period. POV. Plot holes. It’s vs. Its. Overdone tropes. Italics. Purple prose. Excessive description. Slicing scenes. Must do more better.
I kept writing and rewriting and writing and rewriting and then a new story came barging in and I lost track of the old trilogy until about 2 years ago.
So I re-read it.
And cringed. A lot.
The effort was there, but I had to face facts – these manuscripts were DOA. There are some gleaming bits of usefulness that can be recycled elsewhere – whole scenes I can lift out and tweak slightly to fit my current work. Concepts, quirky characters, world details.
But the best I think these first three manuscripts will ever be is evidence that I CAN finish a project, dammit.
And organ donation.
Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or just general biblioophobia.