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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?