Recycling Your Old Work
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Posted 7/4/15
Recently, while digging around on old files and old harddrives, I came across 10 000 works of a story idea I had about 5 years ago. While it was nice to see in its own right, it also made me very aware at how my tone, style and skill had changed over that while and I find myself wanting to scrap it.

The problem with this, however, is that I can still find merits with the ideas within the story itself without actually wanting to continue it. This leaves me with two options. Rewriting the idea and story to better fall in line with my style of writing now, or cannibalizing the ideas that I still find valid and making something else out of it and I'm torn.

This has nothing to do with the actual topic, but if you wanna throw in your ideas regarding that situation, I'll be glad to read them. What I wanted that train of thought in this thread for, though, is because it got me wondering what other people do with old stories they don't want to continue, for whatever reason, whether it be loss of interest, lack of ideas on where to go with it, or just forgetting and finding something like I have.

When you finish with something that is obviously not going to be continued, what do you do with the concepts and ideas from said story? Do you weave them into something else? Do you completely scrap the ideas into the metaphorical trash can and begin anew, or some hybrid of the two?
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Posted 7/4/15
This happens a lot with both friends and myself. We tend to find old backups of stories we forgot we even started working on backup CDs/DVDs/Floppies/Zip Discs/etc. Some stories tend to be so far off the mark they're not salvageable; others have elements/angles that can be cannibalized for use in something better. The best situation though is when you you find one that's screaming for evolution. When you take that story to the next level you can easily find yourself in love with the characters or places you created. You just have to look at the story through new eyes and decide which situation is right for you with each individual story you find.
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25 / M / Canada
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Posted 7/7/15

neugenx wrote:

This happens a lot with both friends and myself. We tend to find old backups of stories we forgot we even started working on backup CDs/DVDs/Floppies/Zip Discs/etc. Some stories tend to be so far off the mark they're not salvageable; others have elements/angles that can be cannibalized for use in something better. The best situation though is when you you find one that's screaming for evolution. When you take that story to the next level you can easily find yourself in love with the characters or places you created. You just have to look at the story through new eyes and decide which situation is right for you with each individual story you find.


I definitely hear you on that one. I'm actually debating rewriting this one to be in line with my current style of writing, because Christ, old me loved to drone on, like I was trying to write the next Dune or Lord of the Rings novel.

When it comes to cannibalizing, what do you find is the things you take the most? The story? Characters? I usually find that it's my characters that end up getting scrapped most frequently, but I find I'm one of those that writes a plot and the characters are just set pieces, something I've been trying to fix for a long time now. I mean, it's to the point, where most of the characters in my short stories don't even have names.
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Posted 7/7/15 , edited 7/7/15

LITVoid wrote:

I definitely hear you on that one. I'm actually debating rewriting this one to be in line with my current style of writing, because Christ, old me loved to drone on, like I was trying to write the next Dune or Lord of the Rings novel.

When it comes to cannibalizing, what do you find is the things you take the most? The story? Characters? I usually find that it's my characters that end up getting scrapped most frequently, but I find I'm one of those that writes a plot and the characters are just set pieces, something I've been trying to fix for a long time now. I mean, it's to the point, where most of the characters in my short stories don't even have names.


With me, I've always been one to start with my characters. Once, I can understand their motivations and limitations the stories practically write themselves.Sometimes it's knowing that that specific story isn't right for them so I remove them from it and create new characters that are more fitting but take the old characters and give them a new story of their own (making 2 separate stories out of the 1 I had). I was told years ago you can't have a great story without great characters and you can't have great characters without a great story. It's a 50/50 relationship. I've followed that advice since then.
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