Don’t delete that story! You know, the one you wrote back when you didn’t have a clue? The one that mortifies you now with its very existence? Yeah, that one.
And don’t give up on it, just because you love the idea but can’t make it work yet. Set it aside for a day or two, trunk it for an indeterminate period, or take another look at it in a few years when you’ve grown as a writer. Either fix it, mine it for useful parts, or put it back in the heap to compost a little more.
Once you delete it, it’s gone. You might be able to recreate that story from memory, possibly even better the second time around. But don’t count on it.
There’s a romantic image of writers literally or figuratively burning their old work to start over. This method is supposed to ‘free up’ the writer from old expectations and burdens. I’m not that drastic. I’ve killed off more than a few pieces, once I’d analyzed them from every angle, and decided they were probably going nowhere.
Some of them, I wish I could retrieve. I’m a much better writer now. Of my works-in-progress for 2015, three longer pieces are revised versions I first started over a decade ago. Other short stories are rebuilt from unsuccessful anthology or contest calls-for-entry from the last five years. My debut novel, a M/M space-opera romance called Moro’s Price, is partly set in a continent-wide megacity I dreamed up for my very first manuscript.
I view my stories and notes as similar resources to my vast collection of beads, specialty fabrics, and other art supplies: valuable raw materials I may use years down the line. In projects that win me sales, awards, happy clients, and great entries in my art CV. The standard efficiency-expert advice of ‘de-clutter your life by getting rid of anything you haven’t used in three years’ is met with disbelieving laughter in my home. That’s my capital investment, bub. Hands off!
My stubborn refusal to give up can be read as a form of hoarding, uninformed self-esteem, or silly American optimism.
There are people who will probably never reach their writing goals, no matter how hard they work. Life isn’t always fair, that way. But they certainly won’t, if they don’t try, or learn from the attempts.
I started writing-with-intent-to-publish in late March of 1987. In the middle of a New Mexican snowstorm. After throwing a paperback of the-then worst fantasy novel I’d ever read out a second-story window, and snarling, “I can write better than this!” I sat down with a notepad, and started scribbling notes on the kind of fantasy romance story I wanted to read.
I completed that novel a few months later. It’s very different from the Moro book. It’s not that bad, for a first attempt. I can’t use it now, for reasons ranging from changed worldbuilding to blackmail potential, but it taught me two critical lessons about writing:
I could finish a manuscript.
I learned to love the act of writing, more than the idea of ‘having written’.
I’m otherwise not a great example of modern publishing. I didn’t make my first professional-level short story sale until 2000. My debut novel didn’t come out until 2012 (republished in 2014, due to an Amazon glitch. I had an art career along the way. Money and time were always an issue, so I couldn’t flit off to every science-fiction convention or prestigious writers’ workshop that I daydreamed about. I made a ten-year derail from original fiction into fan fiction, which turned out to be one of the best time investments I’ve made in my writing life. I not only gained critical writing skills in a forgiving environment, I made associations that I’m actually profiting from now in my original fiction.
None of that would have happened if I’d given up on my art or my writing.
So go ahead, make a clean slate. Just make good backups first!
Publisher: Loose Id
Date Published: January 6, 2014
Genre: M/M erotic romance space opera
Word Count: approx. 100,000
Prince Valier gives suicidal escaped-slave Moro another option than leaping off a skyscraper – a few hours of meaningless rough sex, while Moro is infected with Val’s lethal symbiont. Neither man expects Moro to survive, or become the one man in the galaxy who can tame Val’s darker urges.
“Moro,” Val groaned.
“Hmmm?” Moro hummed as innocently as he could.
“I want your mouth. Please?”
Oh, to be asked, thought Moro, easing away. He hooked his thumbs on the waistband, grinned at the frail cloth, and twisted. Cotton and elastic ripped.
“Vandal,” Val said. “You don’t have to tear off my clothes.”
Yes, I do, thought Moro, hating his brain’s crippled speech centers. I want to see all of you. I want you to come from just my voice. My real voice! But I’ll settle for making you scream.
Moro folded down the rags of Val’s underwear. The trail of white-gold hair widened over Val’s flat, bronze-skinned belly to a nest of pale curls at his groin. As Moro watched, the sizable balls pulsed. The purple-brown cock stiffened into its full, graceful curve. Moro pulled back, considering the disheveled male loveliness in front of him.
The blush really did go all the way down.
Crane Hana lives in a flat place filled with cactus, writes space operas and sword & planet fantasies with an erotic edge, has never met a craft that she didn’t love or pervert until she did, and makes artifacts from cultures that never existed.
Blue Night blog www.cranehanabooks.com/blog
Amazon Author page http://www.amazon.com/MC-Hana/e/B008UUSDNI