Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I’ve Learned

Lately, I’ve been thinking of reusing an old idea I had, one from a book I discarded long ago. The book itself isn’t great. The characters aren’t very distinct, there’s no real antagonist, and honestly I have no idea who the audience for it would be. It’s just a great big blah in manuscript form.

But the core idea, which involves time travel, might still work. It would have to become a plot thread in a whole new book though, meaning ninety nine percent of that effort would be discarded. Basically, I’d be back at square one with it.

It’s kind of a daunting prospect. Part of me whines “I already did this once! I shouldn’t have to do it again!” But I know that salvaging any other part of this book is impossible. It’s either a new effort by a (I hope) more experienced writer or it continues to linger on in the limbo of my idea file.

It happens. Some books don’t work, no matter how much you want them to. Heck, some ideas don’t work no matter how much you want them to. I can tell you that I’m not doing it again without a clear, workable plan in mind. Not necessarily plotting (I’m still a confirmed pantser!) but rather the assurance that I won’t make the same mistakes.

Have you ever tried to reboot a new idea? How did it go? Has experienced helped you evaluate your ideas?


  1. I've never tried. I've set aside two fantasy attempts now and think maybe one day I might pick them back up and try again. For now, I like starting with new ideas.

    1. Yeah, new ideas are fun. I wonder if it would be as good if I combine a new one and an old one.

  2. I have such a bad memory I'm never sure if it's a new idea or one that's been through the recycling center in my head.

  3. I've never tried, but there is always a part of me that wants to go back, take parts of my first novel attempt, and piece it together with new concepts. Good luck!

  4. I haven't tried. The closest is the notion of a small idea I had with my book of a terrorist group killing one of their own when they realize they've been betrayed. It wouldn't work with the group in this book, but it can be used down the line.

  5. I could have sworn I commented on this already...

    I like to think of it as practice. The previous incarnation didn't quite work out, but it worked the bugs out, so it wasn't a total loss.


Please validate me.