Have You Re-Worked An Old Story?

stack-of-books-1001655_1280When it comes to writing, I’m a bit of a hoarder; I don’t throw anything out. Next to my desk is a chest full of notebooks, manilla folders and scraps of paper containing story ideas, incomplete manuscripts and research notes. It’s what some people like to call ‘an organised mess’. However, this mess could be a goldmine for a writer.

Every once in a while I go through this collection, surprised to see how long it has been since I’ve looked at some of these pieces, seeing the possibilities in a many number of them. I keep asking myself why I’ve never bothered to continue working on them. There is one in particular that stands out.

89f02ba9c66e17313a433a4b6daba917About ten years ago, I wrote a young adult novel. It was complete in that it had a beginning, middle and end – only trouble was it was less than 30,000 words (and contains a number of subplots not suitable for a novella). Clearly more work needed to be done. At the time I gave it to a beta reader for feedback. The feedback I received was: – ‘This story was great – no – brilliant!’  And this was just in its very first draft! So, with positive feedback such as this, what did I do? Being in a group of insecure writers, I think you all know the answer that that one – I let fear get the better of me.

Over the years, I have worked on it, believing that this story has potential. It has only been within the last year or so that I have thought of the possibility of turning this into a series. For now though, I just need to concentrate on this one, making it the best I possibly can and worry about the other possibilities later.

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and re-worked it? Did it work out? Are you a hoarder when it comes to your writing? Does fear hold you back from working on a piece you think has potential?

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9 thoughts on “Have You Re-Worked An Old Story?

  1. Yeah, fear has a way to get the better of all of us. In a box that I’ve pulled an old story out to rework in February, a whole series waits patiently for me to get back to it. And I will. One day. When I’m sure I’m not going to mess it up. Mm…

    1. Debbie Johansson 01/03/2017 — 11:31 pm

      Hi milayronel. It’s amazing what you can find while going through your old writings. Some have possibilities, while others – well, not so much! Best of luck with your old story, I hope it works out for you. Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you. 🙂

      1. Thank you 🙂

  2. I’m currently going back to an old story in a sense. Back in 2013 I started working on a fantasy novel, and was quite ambitious with my planning…but probably a bit too ambitious. So I’m going back and writing a short story set in an earlier part of the same world, trying to concentrate only on the world-building I need to do in order to make this one short story work.

    1. Debbie Johansson 01/03/2017 — 11:36 pm

      Hi David. I’m doing something similar with a NaNoWriMo novel I wrote a couple of years back. There is a bit of back story, so I’ve decided to work on that in short story/novella form. I’m hoping this will improve my original novel idea. Best of luck with it all! Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you. 🙂

  3. janmorrison12 01/03/2017 — 1:46 pm

    Yes – I think those old stories that tug at our hearts are definitely due some attention! Pitter patter let’s fly atter as my old daddio would have said.

    1. Debbie Johansson 01/03/2017 — 11:49 pm

      Hi janmorrison12. I agree with you. Just like some stories you read that you keep coming back to, some of our own stories have the same effect. There’s got to be something in that! Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you. 🙂

  4. I am a hoarder when it comes to my writing. I have multiple boxes of notebooks and old drafts, and story notes, and all of that. It’s always fun to dig through the really old ones to see where the characters and I were at the time.

    1. Debbie Johansson 02/03/2017 — 12:00 am

      Hi M.J. Fifield. Good to meet another hoarder when it comes to writing! It is fun to dig through some old stories, but there are always those times where some of our writing can make us cringe. It’s certainly an eye-opener! Thanks for stopping by – it’s good to meet you. 🙂

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