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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Revisiting Old Friends...AKA Finding "Buried" Treasure

     Finding stories you don't recall writing is fun.  It's like unearthing buried treasure, without the X to mark your spot. For me it is like revisiting old friends.  They may not have been completed stories either;  I may not remember all the details of where I wanted to take it.  But, I sometimes come up with new, and perhaps even better ideas.  As these are unfinished projects, it might have meant that the original idea wasn't good enough, or have enough strength to pursue to completion.

     It can be a challenge to decide where to go with, or recapture the interest in it; sometimes you just  have to let it go.   But you should never get rid of those treasures,  they can become the basis for some other project.  Or I may get some more fleshing out on the idea, but that is about it.  And sometimes it can be years before I get around to revisiting these old friends.

     So I hear you..."Hey, can you give us an example?"

     In full disclosure, I haven't actually haven't had much opportunity to pursue a formerly buried idea, because most of my project ideas are very incomplete.  And new ideas that I know I will publish, come up.  So the first, and only time that I recall that  I've used this advice was with my 2009 Nano novel.  That one was written as a sort of fictionalized auto biography.  The main character was a rape survivor (like myself), who had a very dysfunctional relationship with her mother (who was based on my mother, aunt, and a few other women I knew.) Her father was more like my dad.   That project was all handwritten, and I really liked it much better than the one I tried to rewrite with the same basic idea for Nano 2012.   The secondary character was taking over too much (when she wasn't in the first one at all).  The only reason I had her was to raise the stakes for my main character, but the story really didn't work. I probably won't rewrite it again, as the character is too close to me.  But if I find my original again, or can recreate the original closely from memory,  then I would definitely finish it.

     Revisiting these stories can help you see how far you've come.  You may not use them again...but they are precious for showing your progression as a writer.  They may also be given away if you so it forward to other writers.  But remember, ideas cannot be copyrighted, and also cannot be stolen.  As was said (badly paraphrased) "There are no new ideas, only how you  transform them, and make them your own."

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