Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group (click on the badge above for the list) and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

March IWSG Day Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
Late, as usual. Sigh.

Since I'm still in the throes of rewriting Pismawallops PTA 3, I thought I'd go with the prompt for this month. (The editing is going well, thank you, but more slowly than I would like, as usual).

The question is actually kind of appropriate, because the first PPTA book was a substantial revision of an abandoned draft. I'm not sure I'd call it *really* old, but it had been in the drawer for 6 or 7 years, I think, when I decided to take a look and see if it had any hope. I consulted with an editor, and between us we decided that I should try.

One advantage of editing something that has been on ice for multiple years is that you really can look at it objectively.  I'm not sure how many years it takes to be able to read a story or novel with little to none of the baggage you carry around in your head when writing it for the first time, but that was what I was able to do. 

With that perspective, I could rewrite characters to be more believable, and to have their own voices. I could also work out motivations more clearly, so that the murder made more sense and characters behaved more reasonably.

From that experience, though I've never tried it with a short story, I'd say that putting a project that isn't quite working into pickle for months or years might be helpful. In point of fact, I pretty much let all my rough drafts stew for around a year--my procedure is to draft a novel, put it aside to revise an older work to the point of submission to beta readers and editors, work on final edits to yet a 3rd project, and move back to the rough draft only when at least one of those other works is out the door. For me, the longer between first draft and further work, the better--at least, up to a point. 

I just don't know where that point is, yet.

How about you? Any experience with resurrecting the dead--dead stories, that is?


  1. I always take at least three months off in between drafts to try and clear my head from all that baggage. (I think Stephen King recommends six months to a year away from it.) And that works wonders for me. I'm always able to be much more objective and clear-headed about it after that time away. It still doesn't guarantee a smooth revision process, but that's something else altogether. :)

    1. hmm...thought I answered this, but maybe I failed to hit "publish." My head is stuffed with mucus, leaving little room for thought. Anyway, I was saying something about always needing to let drafts sit, often for as much as a year, so the line between just letting it rest and letting it die is a vague one!

  2. Come to think of it, I left Bravo Victor in a filing cabinet for about three years, because I knew it didn't work. Talent Seekers came out before I went back to it and sorted it out. Of course, part of the problem was to do with messing with time travel, and that needs a good deal of thinking about.

    1. Yeah, some stories need extra time, and I think it only counts as a resurrection if you had really given up any intention of publishing it!

  3. The book I first got an agent with was reworked from a novel I'd written while in college. What a mess! The original version was over 500 pages SINGLE-SPACED, and it had no clear protagonist and some antiquated plot elements. (Satanic cults, anyone?)

    I kept some of the characters and the overall theme/feel and started again. The end result is definitely something I'm proud of. My newsletter subscribers know it as a little book called Lost. :)

    1. Wow...that's a pretty major transformation. I've never gone back to anything as far back as college :)


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