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Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Can't Believe I Wrote THAT!

Well, perhaps I can believe I wrote that story, but I may not entirely remember what I was thinking whenever I wrote that thing. Some writers may know what I’m talking about. We all have those stories that we’ve written and we abhor. At the time, it seemed like a great idea, and it might not have looked bad as we wrote it. But after some serious reflection and some time, we look back and wonder, “What was I thinking?!”  

I have written many things like this. They’re often called rough drafts. Each writer must ultimately get past the rough draft stage and polish up that story to make it book-worthy. But some stories never make it past the rough draft. And for good reason. I believe there are some stories that don’t deserve to be written. Rewritten: possibly.

One such example is the first novel-length story I ever wrote. I figured I already knew how to type, I had a great idea for characters, and I loved stories! It was full of dragons, and talking animals, and magic doorways (sound familiar?). Oh, and did I mention I was only 12? What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out, quite a lot.

At the time, I knew I wanted to be an author, and if Christopher Paolini could publish a bestselling book at age 15, I could publish a book by 14. But life doesn’t always work out that way. I don’t know when I realized my story was a humongous flop, but I put it aside and completely rewrote it several years later. 
 
Even after all these years, lurking within the depths of my files is a document painful to look at. I won’t even let my most trusted writer friends read it. It’s too embarrassing. So why do I keep it?

As I mentioned before, I rewrote the entire story, so I used the original to base another story off. I dropped the plot and the magical doorways, and even some of the characters switched personalities. But the original work provided me with a reference. Even though nothing yet has become of either of these stories, they have taught me that there is always the possibility for improvement.
 
Still, even after all this, why would I keep the terrible, first story if I didn’t need it anymore? Wouldn’t the embarrassment be too much? Say, hypothetically, I became a famous author and on my deathbed, told somebody to delete my story after I died, but they didn’t! Should I be worried? Well, for one I’d be dead, so why should I care? And two, that person would soon realize the ridiculous nature of the story, so why show it to the world?  

Call it what you will: hoarding;  sentimentality. I will always keep my stories. The well-written ones to share with others. The poor ones to remind myself never to go back.  

Tell me what YOU think! Are there any stories you hold onto despite their quality?

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