children's writer

What to do With Old Stories

Dec 10, 2015

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself looking back at what I've written in the past. Sometimes my old stories call to me from the shelf, begging for me to spend some time with them. I often give in, flip through them and inhale the scent of their time weathered pages. It's a nice trip down memory lane, and I often remember what led me to want to write them in the first place. It could be a character who wouldn't stop talking to me, a place, a great first line, or an idea inspired by my childhood fancies. Old stories are very much like childhood toys, the memories make it hard for us to let go entirely. So we keep them around, hoping one day they'll be useful to us again.

There are times our desire to be with these stories are so strong we might want to re-purpose them. If you're like me and you feel a little nostalgic for stories you've written in your past, there are things you can do with them.

  • Upload them to a story site - There are popular story sharing sites like Wattpad and Figment that are both fun and easy to use. Make yourself a great cover, write a great description, and upload a chapter a week. Pretty soon, you'd be sure to have a small following. 
  • Turn the story into a blog serial -  Like the first point, if you're comfortable enough with your writing you could share it on your blog or website. This could work for shorter works. If they're really short. I've toyed with idea of turning a middle grade story I wrote into a serial. Here's a great blog post on serials. 
  • Reuse a character or two - Say you don't love the plot so much but there's a character whose personality you do like, why not cut them out and use them in a new WIP. Introduce them to a new world and give them new friends. A new story might be what they need to make them really shine.
  • Pull the plot a part by the seams - This the most obvious. If you still love the idea, but you feel like something's off you could always rewrite or smooth out those scenes that just aren't working.
  • Put it away for good - Sometimes a story really belongs on the shelf, no matter how much you love it. I have stories that I know could be rewritten, but I love them too much as they are, in all their flawed glory. Maybe one day I will try to rewrite them, but for now on the shelf is where the belong.

There will always be a place in my heart for my old stories because they taught me how to be a better writer, because they taught me how to keep going even when my muse wasn't around, because they fed my soul. I needed to write these stories, no matter how terrible. They are the stepping stones that line my path to a future filled with words. 

So tell me, do you love or hate your old stories?
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