Wednesday, March 01, 2017

IWSG: Reworking Old Stories

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. If you haven't yet, join in. You'll be glad you did!



Each month we have a question. This month's question is:

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I started writing in 1995. Needless to say, I have more than a few unpublished manuscripts. I lost the romance manuscripts years ago, and that's probably for the best.



I do have 22 manuscripts on my computer--before you gasp, most are partials (three chapters and a synopsis). Most have either been rejected by my agent or publisher. Will those rejected books ever see the light of day?



Why do I say that? Because I know me. IF someday I decide to put the idea into action, I'm probably going to want to start over. Same idea, different approach.



Do I regret the time I spent writing those books that will never be read? Nope. Nothing we write is ever wasted. With ever word, we get stronger and more confident. So I look at those unpublished manuscripts as my "training." A master's degree, of sorts, that I'm still trying to earn!



Have you ever reworked an old story?


My next Piper Morgan book, Piper Morgan Makes a Splash, comes out April 4, 2017. Sign up if you'd like to help out by posting on your blog about it!


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46 comments:

  1. Okay, I believe I posted my comment on the wrong form. I said, You're right. Nothing is ever wasted. A chapter here or a paragraph there is never lost.
    All the best with your book launch and sorry about filling out the wrong form.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

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    1. That is true...we're all learning and growing with each word we write.

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  2. Be happy to help you!
    Reworking and rewriting isn't a bad thing and in the case of really old manuscripts, sometimes totally necessary. But it was all good practice.

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    1. I've always had trouble reworking things. I always feel inclined to either keep everything or delete it all!

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  3. I also have at least 3 to 4 started books sitting on my computer too. Every once in a while I go back and take a look. I did rework one in particular and with perseverance and a lot of editing it will be published.

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    1. Hopefully it'll make its way into publication!

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  4. So true! Nothing is ever wasted. We learn so much from writing and writing and writing:) Congrats on your upcoming release!

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  5. Yes, we do learn for all our old works. And if you send me a two sentence blurb, a few links, and a cover, I can post about your book in my Follower News. Congrats on your new book!

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    1. That's great! Natalie! I'll add you to my list.

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  6. Love that "You know you're a writer when...."! So true!

    And you're right about how we learn and grow from everything we write - the good and the not-so-good.

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    1. And if you're lucky, your bad writing doesn't linger out there forever!

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  7. I've had this go both ways. I've been able to revisit an old draft and find ways to make it better. And other times, I let it go as practice. Like you said, no writing is ever wasted. It all helps us grow and improve.

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    1. It definitely can go both ways, depending on the original draft.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. I wish I could find some old handwritten stuff I'd written years ago, before I even had a computer. Then again, I'd be almost afraid to look at it!
    I can't wait to post about your next book.

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    1. LOL, I used to handwrite my books, too. Sometimes I still do that--there's something about pen on paper that unleashes the creativity!

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  10. Twenty-two manuscripts in the wings? Wow! I don't think I even have that many ideas. I need to get busy. In my defense, I write short stories and three chapters is pretty much the extent of my manuscripts. Congratulations on your book "Piper Morgan Makes a Splash" and on your boxed set coming out this summer!

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    1. Thank you! I don't know how many partials and completes I have...I did lose count years ago!

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  11. I love the meme on You know you're a writer:)
    I agree all writing is good.
    I've also started reading writers self help books again.
    YOU have a pleasant and productive day, my friend.

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  12. See, I wrote like 9 complete novels before I self-published one (and had another rejected repeatedly). I'm sure the others are COMPLETELY terrible, but I also know they would need a ton of work to become viable, and I have so many new ideas I want to work on... I've got enough stories to keep me busy until I'm at least 100 years old...

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    1. Meant to say AREN'T completely terrible. I'm not that hard on myself.

      But yeah, they probably suck.

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  13. 22! That's amazing. Me, I keep reworking these old stories, updating, improving. I rarely get exhausted with the topic. Thankfully.

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  14. Awesome post! I agree that no writing is ever wasted. I have a lot of old manuscripts scattered about, but most of them will never see the light of day. I have too many new ideas that are clamoring for attention!

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  15. Now romance is a genre I might consider! There is this thing that ends the same way all the time. Yes, he gets the girl! The end. lol

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  16. Hi Steph - congratulations on your next Piper Morgan book - you're doing great with that series. I'd join you with the romance - thankfully I've never written any! Cheers and good luck with more stories - Hilary

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  17. I don't think anything we write is ever wasted. It's all training and experience.

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  18. Hi Stephanie! I have a book I started to write, and let me tell you, it's three or four chapters of AWFUL. I mean, it's terrible. I have no idea why I thought it was so brilliant. But as you say, it's valuable because it was working towards gettting better. At least I can look on it and hopefully feel that I've made progress since writing it.
    If I haven't, I'm in big trouble...
    Ceil

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  19. There's some stories I'd like to rework and others I know will never see the light of day.
    All signed up to help.

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  20. I have a couple of fists full of work too. I don't regret them; I just don't know what to do with them. Each one needs a overhaul of some sort. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  21. Yes, training. That's what they are. Now I just need to train myself to write more new stuff.

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  22. Hey, I'd say 3 chapters and a synopsis is hardly worth fretting over. It's those novels you actually pour your guts into, the whole thing, only to come against a rejection. =)

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  23. I did it again! I filled out the wrong form with my comment. Ah well, here it is again: I refer to my first novel as my "practice novel." I never even queried it. If you've got 22 partials and fulls under your belt, I'm a little jealous. I actually only started writing fiction seriously a couple of years ago. So much to learn! So much more "practicing" to do! http://www.raimeygallant.com

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  24. I like to write as a hobby to keep me nice and creative and I have some awful first drafts on my laptop. It's been fun though to go back and re-work things and they've become much better but then I don't fret about it too much as they're just for me so I imagine for writers like yourself, it can definitely be more frustrating, but I loved what you said about nothing we write is ever wasted - so, so true! - Tasha

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  25. The life of a writer is foreign to me. I can imagine that if I had unfinished stories, I'd never really rework them. I only think that because whenever I run across old school papers or case studies, when I reread them, I usually wonder what in the world I was thinking.

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  26. Hi, Stephanie. You have an excellent attitude toward the value of stories that don't sell.

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  27. I think we can learn a lot from those old stories. I'm rewriting one now, original story in 1998. Making lots of changes. Hopefully it will be better this time.

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  28. I am more likely to rework poems. And I've reworked a short story into a poem - now that's word choice! Indeed, I agree that early work is like training wheels - keep rolling along but don't let go quite yet....

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  29. I love your approach to old material. I think I would probably do the same – by starting, essentially, from scratch with old material rather than just changing a few words/paragraphs/chapters. It's just too hard to get back into the original mindset for a piece that you started years (months, weeks, days?) ago. Of course, I also love your positivity with regards to writing as a whole. Nothing prepares you more for future writing than … well, writing. :)

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  30. Unfortunately, I lost most of my old stories. Though there is a short story I wrote in college that I have often considered turning into a novel. It's called Devil's Eyes. It was a short story we had to tell using only our five senses. It was hard, but fun to write. :-D

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  31. I tried my hand in romance too, but gave it up. The rules of the genre was too much for me.

    22 manuscripts--that's impressive. I like your idea of they were training you to become a stronger writer, so you'd never revise those WIPs. Maybe I need to adopt that strategy. Instead of trying to rework my old stuff, I should start over. Same concept of story idea with fresh eyes. Then, it wouldn't take me forever to get out of the editing stage :)

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

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  32. "So I look at those unpublished manuscripts as my "training." A master's degree, of sorts, that I'm still trying to earn!"
    That's a great way to look at all those old manuscripts! All the best for the release of your new book :-)

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  33. "Nothing written is ever wasted" - I like that, I think of it as my apprenticeship :)

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  34. That last meme though. :D

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  35. I feel like all these quotes I'm reading for this month's IWSG posts are so spot on, I'm freaking out! I AM that sorry author with more unfinished MS's than friends.... :/

    I do agree that no word written is wasted, even if the words stay trunked forever. Each of these ideas getting any writing time by us is us practicing our craft! How can that be a waste ever?

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  36. It's like painting. I have painted lots, but many are drafts you could say? And, as you said, you get stronger and more confident!

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