Resurrecting dead stories

If you’re like me, you have a story or two, or a series of poems, or a novel, or even a scholarly article that has been relegated to the dustbin of your productivity. These are the pieces that have been through the publisher or editor rounds at so many places you’ve lost count and received nothing but rejections. After so many disheartening “no” responses, you gave up on it.

You decided that the piece just wasn’t working and wasn’t worth saving, or you couldn’t see or feel a solution, so you shelved it or stuffed it into a folder inside a milk crate at the back of a closet, buried, forgotten.

Remember that piece?

Time to dig it up, resuscitate it, and  breathe new life into its sad, desiccated remains.

Dust off the document and read through it. Find the spark, the moment, the idea, even a few great sentences, phrases, or scenes to save. Using only the best pieces of the former whole, start again. Create a new story with the skeleton of the past failed piece.

Resurrecting the stories that we’ve given up on can be invigorating. Going through this process also allows us to heal that former wound and think our way into a potentially terrific story. After all, we’re all better writers now than we were twenty years ago, ten years ago, one year ago. Chances are good that there is something worth saving in that initial attempt – have faith in your former self.

Revisiting material that we think is dead honors our story as writers. We had something valuable to say at that point in the past – it is still valuable and is still part of our whole writing story…worth revisiting – we wrote it!

So this week, go digging to discover a new beginning. 🙂

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