Hi all, before I start, I quickly want to do some admin. On M-day (15 April), I will be doing a post on how I draw maps. At first, I thought of redrawing my map, but then I realized that that would be reinventing the wheel.
So! Any fantasy writers out there who lack the artistic skill/desire to draw a map can contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Just make sure that you have MAP as your topic so that I can enter you into the draw randomly. Please note, it's for e-mail entries only. No comments to the effect please, as I don't want to struggle with making contact with the winner on the eighth.
OK... admin done...
Let's start with A-Day.
Most people start writing in school with those dratted 100 word essays and projects. Most people don't enjoy it, but there are always the exception. Writers.
We fortunate few love writing and burst onto new ideas and stories with indescribable passion.
We fall in love with the story idea. We love and hate characters. We build scenarios and stories.
And... then we realize that it sucks.
Or that there's a plot hole so massive that it is easier to stop writing than to go back to fix it.
Or (my personal worst), we lose that spark that makes us want to finish the novel.
What happens then? Well... Sometimes we fight for it, trying our best to salvage the story we loved once. Other times, we give up and store away the idea/story for later or forever.
A waste of time, right?
Oh so very very wrong. You see, there was a time that you loved writing your story. It made you happy. That alone makes sure that your time spent writing the ms can never be seen as a waste.
Then, there's the fact that nothing you've written goes away. It's there for as long as you keep it. In my opinion, that makes it an asset. You can still draw value out of that ms if you work at it long enough. Didn't you do research for that story that you could use for another, better story? Didn't you work out the characterisation/world rules that you can use in a new, shiny version of the book you binned? Isn't there a scenario that you created in that book that sparks a better idea? Or would that plot hole not be easier solved by writing a prequel?
Why not? That's the thing about creative minds. We can use anything to inspire a story.
And then, if in the likely event that your story really has nothing to offer you, there is an intangible value to that ms that outstrips everything else:
I believe that writing is one of those few things that you have to teach yourself. Yes, you can go take lessons and ask advice, but whether anything that is said is of application on you, depends only on yourself. Every person's style and method is different. So, the only way to learn the art of writing is by trial and error.
I learned that the number one cause of my stories' souls dying was over-editing first draft. So after I finally decided to learn something from my "failures", I started drafting pen to paper. Kills premature self-edits dead. Guaranteed.
There are hundreds of other things that I learned from previous failed/stopped drafts, but I won't go into them now, because it will probably mean next to about 99% of you.
But I think my point is made. Those ideas you abandoned were not a waste of time. One way or the other, they added value to your life as a writer.
Even if it just opened your mind a little to the possibility of becoming a writer.
That alone, made it invaluable.
So... How many attempts did you go through before hitting on your current idea? Can you think of ways that your old ideas helped you?