Old Projects Come Back

Tonight apparently is the night of exhausted writing drives, because I got one hell of a push to get into the writing saddle this evening. This is after, of course, falling asleep on the train on the way home from work. When I got in the door, I thought for sure I wouldn’t get a thing done. Who knew I’d be writing for nearly two hours? It’s totally amazing what can happen when you get your second wind.

So recently I tried a new project: getting back to old work. One of my biggest problems, which I may have mentioned before, is often finishing projects. I begin big projects, usually coming up with dozens of characters and large sweeping plots, and then have some serious problems finishing up to the end. I peter out somewhere between the 60-120 page mark, leaving my characters unresolved and a good idea floundering in the land of unfinished plots. This, I decided, had to change, so I started to figure out ways to make that happen.

The answer came to me with a trip to Staples and the expenditure of some serious amounts of paper (and cash). I went ahead and printed out and bound one copy of each of the major stories that I had begun and didn’t finish. This would be tangible proof of the work I had done so far and the projects that I so far had left unresolved. What I ended up with was as follows:

  • One copy of my NaNo project from 2006 (approx. 80 pages)
  • One copy of my NaNo project from 2007 (approx. 90 pages)
  • One copy of my NaNo project from 2008 (approx. 90 pages)
  • One copy of my NaNo project from 2009 (approx. 130 pages)
  • One copy of my project designated Big Pete (approx. 70 pages)

Now each of these except for my NaNo from this year is single spaced, normal fonts, which means that double spaced or in manuscript format they would be a helluva lot larger. Hence, this represents a LARGE portion of the work I’ve put time into in the last few years (notwithstanding work on my large fantasy project, my superhero kids story or any of the dozen short stories I’ve finished and the others I haven’t completed either). All in all, these are the major projects I have undertaken – and they have yet to be finished.

So I sat. And I read through them all. And in the end, I remembered why I wanted to write them in the first place.

What I assessed is that honestly? The work from 2006 is BAD. Some of the ideas are good but the rest of it is pretty bad writing and needs to be overhauled completely. It makes up the first part of a trilogy I continued the next year in NaNo 2007, which is a MUCH better story and a good example of some fast, fun action writing. The third part of the trilogy from the next year is also pretty good, though it needs some work too, and I’m planning on getting to it soon. However, I decided that the 2007 NaNo was the best place to enter back into the writing of these three books and I picked up the file again.

So far, I’ve jammed out twenty pages in the last two days. The writing spurt tonight was fueled by considering and thinking about the story all day at work (in between, you know, actually doing something too for my job). I realized that sometimes, a good story doesn’t leave you, you just paint yourself into a scene you don’t know how to get out of and get stuck. In the 2007 story, the characters were just about to go rescue someone in a deep, dark basement full of evil things… and I just lost the thread of it somehow when I was initially doing the writing. In the rereading, I rediscovered the energy of that scene, the hectic race to rescue a fallen friend, and found my way back into the story. So it goes.

The rest of these stories, I hope, will get the same treatment pretty soon. I’m excited to get some energy back into Big Pete as well, even though it is a behemoth. And there has been a few inches of progress on other big project (the fantasy one) due to some help from Scriviner. The project from this year’s NaNo is also plugging away very slowly, though I think I may need to go back and reread because I think I got run over by my plot-bus somewhere and can’t find my way back to where I was going.

All in all, mission to reignite old projects: accomplished. Now maybe the evil Muse will met me sleep.

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