?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Writing to Reno: Mining the Past

As with other posts about my Writing to Reno project, this one is only likely to interest people curious about trying to make a living as a writer.

Mining the Past

Writing is a learning curve, but creativity isn't. In other words, if you're like me, a lot of the best ideas you had for stories came to you years ago.

Perhaps you were picking your nose at a wedding beside the punch-bowl when somebody slapped you unexpectedly on the back, and you thought, wow! Imagine if that had been a poisoned snot! Or maybe you had just caught your first love sharing the poems you'd written for her with a class of guffawing enemies and you realized: She would make a brilliant cold-hearted-evil-bitch character...

The tragedy of these early inspirations is that they came to a younger you, a you who had not yet learned to write.

But you can now!

In my files I have up to a dozen stories whose ideas still excite me, even if the execution at the time was poor. Most of the markets they were submitted to way back in the day have been replaced by new ones. Editors have moved on...

With this in mind, I revamped two old stories over the weekend and am getting ready to submit them. In addition I have five or six others that are "half-wonderful"*. Typically, I have what I consider to be a fine (if poorly written) beginning, followed by an ending that tries too hard for an unnecessarily explosive finale. All are potential money earners for my trip to Reno.

Mining the Future

Of course, I still get new ideas, good and bad. But I've found it can take a lot of work to develop them properly and they need a lot of time to stew. For this year, at least, if I'm to make it into the far West, I might do better by mining the past than the future.

What do you think?



*A new technical term that I'm still working on. 

Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
zornhau
Sep. 7th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
Mining the past
Rereading the childhood books that inspired me... it's like going back to a saved game and chosing a different door.
peadarog
Sep. 7th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Mining the past
Too true! I must muster up the courage for a reread of some of my own some day.
Re: Mining the past - zornhau - Sep. 7th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mining the past - peadarog - Sep. 7th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mining the past - zornhau - Sep. 7th, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mining the past - peadarog - Sep. 7th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mining the past - zornhau - Sep. 7th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Mining the past - peadarog - Sep. 7th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
bogwitch64
Sep. 7th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
New-old story sparkles! Woohoo!

Too bad you can't get to Reno on sparkles. You could probably harvest enough from my past comments to get you there. :)
regina_of_york
Sep. 7th, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
Too bad you can't get to Reno on sparkles.
Well, sparkles worked for certain other authors I could mention...

*coughMeyercough*
(no subject) - peadarog - Sep. 7th, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 7th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Sep. 7th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 7th, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Sep. 7th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 7th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
regina_of_york
Sep. 7th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
It sounds like the "Writing to Reno" project is off to a good start. May all your stories sell quickly!
peadarog
Sep. 7th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
If they sell at all, I'll be happy enough! Although, to be honest, I have a strike-rate of about 50%. Hopefully it will get better!
bondo_ba
Sep. 7th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
I think it's a great idea. I've always been convinced that everything will sell eventually, given enough work. Let us know how it goes.
peadarog
Sep. 7th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
I will! [let you know, that it...]
karen_w_newton
Sep. 7th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Interesting observation. Neil Gaiman said he got the idea for The Graveyard Book when his (now grown) son was a toddler but he put it aside as being "a better idea than he was a writer." I think some of the things I wrote when I was first starting were really good ideas but I need to rewrite the stories from scratch because I can do a much better job with them now.
peadarog
Sep. 7th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Yes. From scratch is probably the best thing to do in these situations. But I had quite a few decent story beginnings way back...
ext_250626
Sep. 7th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
You say "Of course, I still get new ideas, good and bad", What do you use to gauge the value of those ideas?

I sometimes question my own qualifiers. I rarely feel I come up with bad ideas. Some might be better off in another genre or put aside until quality catches up to quantity, but it's rare I think of something and discard it soon after.

There's bound to be a line drawn somewhere. Me, I have a hard time finding it.


-Foreverlad
peadarog
Sep. 7th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Ah, so that's your real name! Nice to re-meet you, sort of, Michael...

But, different from you, my mind does come up with some very dodgy ideas. It's usually just a matter of chewing them over for a day or so before the horrible truth reveals itself.
(no subject) - foreverlad - Sep. 7th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Sep. 8th, 2010 07:01 am (UTC) - Expand
jongibbs
Sep. 7th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
I think the best thing about old ideas is that if they still excite you, they're probably really good ideas, and so worth giving priority to. After all, the crappy ones didn't stand the test of time, right?

Mind you, we still have to keep a note of them all , otherwise you might forget about them, good or not.

peadarog
Sep. 7th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
My name is Peadar and I fully endorse this comment.
zoeiona
Sep. 14th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Tangential to topic, but:

A tip that may or may not be of any use to you whatsoever - I once heard at a con that the BBC is generally pretty short of new 45-minute long radio plays to fill its Afternoon Play slot on Radio 4, and that if you can write them something half-decent, the chances of them buying it are quite high. I've never managed to come up with a forty-five minute standalone radio play idea, but if you happen to do so...
peadarog
Sep. 14th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Now that is an interesting tip! Thank you for the idea... It's a long while since I wrote a play of any sort, but you never know!
(no subject) - zoeiona - Sep. 14th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Sep. 14th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zoeiona - Sep. 14th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Sep. 14th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

February 2017
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728    

Penguins

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Keri Maijala