Never throw anything away.
I’m not sure I can stress that enough, but if you’re an indie author never actually get rid of anything.
- A novel you abandoned? Absolutely keep it.
- A short story you came to dislike? Hang on to it, there was a reason why you pursued that original idea, and you can rework it.
- A napkin on which you scribbled down a great idea which also has stains from a badly spilled madras? Well, maybe the napkin itself you can let go, but the idea – make sure you keep it.
This is a message I’m passing on ruefully. There are short stories I wrote back in the 90s, even a novel that I cannot place my hands on right now. They’re not on my computer, not on my old computer and I don’t have printed out copies. It’s damned annoying. Not that I’m expecting them to be any good, but there’d be stuff there I could use, concepts I could rework. Them being lost just makes them a missed opportunity, rather than a possibility.
(There’s a chance they’re at my parent’s house. I meant to look the last time I was there, but got sick instead. If they are there, I’m sure they can wait for Christmas).
Lunchtimes this week, I’ve been rewriting a novella called DEATH AT THE SEASIDE.
This has been interesting for me as I wrote it originally in 2002, rewrote it again in 2008, but in that pre-kindle world couldn’t really figure out what to do with it. Now however I have a place for it, so I’m reworking it again.
A lot of it isn’t good, a large amount has to be redone, but there’s a lot here that I’m really happy with as well. The character at the centre I find quite compelling, even though he’s a terrible human being. The narrative dances around him, taking his voice, reflecting his views, getting ready to punish him.
15 years this story has been with me and now I’m getting ready to finish it.
Please, never throw anything away!
Fancy a free FRJ short story? There’s one available here.