Posted On April 4, 2014 by Print This Post

Handsome Hansel “Wakening Your Dead”

Welcome Handsome Hansel from Dance of Romance – posting with us today on how to bring some new life back into an old story.

I’ll admit that I don’t go back and read a lot of what I’ve written after it’s been “out there.” I judge myself too much. As much as I’ve critiqued myself before having others read it, I’m rather harsh on myself once I’ve let it go. I’m not sure why that is. I tend to be ok with what I’ve written until turned over to someone else.

However…that’s not true of what I call my dead pile. These are pieces I’ve toyed with over the years. Stories I’ve began then orphaned when an easier going story came knocking at my noggin. It doesn’t mean I love those stories any less than the one getting my full attention presently. Just that I’m not inspired to push it forward. I’ve hit a wall with it and I really don’t think I’m doing the story, myself, and certainly my readers a favor by forcing it. Hence, the dead pile.

I recently revisited my dead pile wondering if there was anything in there worthy of some HH CPR. I came across a story of Davie. A loner of a young man picked on by his peers and laughed at by the female set. He finds his confidence after stumbling into a dance studio while trying to ditch some bullies chasing after him. Befriended by the instructor, she gives him a place to escape the outside world while helping him find his inner self.

I was only five chapters into Davie’s tale when I killed it. I don’t even really remember why I dropped it by the wayside when I did. After reading it again though, I decided it needed new life.

They say you should walk away from what you’ve written and let it breathe a little before signing off on it. As writers we will see the good and the bad in our own writing when we walk away for a little bit. It certainly saves having to hear the bad from others first!

I have no doubt that everyone reading this has their own version of a dead pile. I hadn’t looked at mine for over a year. I encourage each of you to read through yours. Yes, you’ll cringe…a lot. You’ll also find some hidden gems. So what do you do when you find those gems? Resuscitate!

As I mentioned earlier, I can’t remember why I walked away from Davie. Once I reread what I had written, I automatically knew where I had to take the story. There were a number of revisions necessary in order to get the flow in sync with what needed to happen next but it wasn’t too cumbersome. If anything, it reinvigorated my passion in his tale.

With each story we begin to write we attack it with vim and vigor. Yet we also anguish at the prospect of getting it started. With your dead pile you’ve already jumped the getting started hurdle. That’s not to say it’s a sprint to the finish but you have a head-start you had forgotten about.

Rediscovering my dead pile couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Personally I’ve flatlined lately when it comes to my writing. I’ve picked up a few freelance gigs to keep the writing muscle in shape but when it comes to my professional writing my heart just hadn’t been in it. Coming across Davie again changed that. It gave me the kick in the pants I needed to bring his story back to life. And not only his story but the others I was also working on.

Find your past works in progress and revisit them. You’ll read them with a new perspective.

(For those of you who know me know this is a less winded post than what I’m used to posting. I apologize and can assure you next months post will certainly make up for it. Short on time isn’t a good enough explanation but I’m running on fumes as we speak. :)

HH

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Have you ever had a manuscript flatline? How did you bring it back to life?

Join us on Monday for Donna Cummings who swears she only wants 15 minutes of our time…=)

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Bio: Like most of us, I’ve been around the block a time or two (or three) in the relationship world. I like to think of myself as having a pretty thick skin, however, that skin doesn’t surround the heart.

I’ve been in love; I’ve been in lust. I’ve been hurt and got up to do it all again, each time having learned more of myself as well as “wants” and “don’t wants” for my next relationship. Amazingly enough, I never gave up on that one true love wrapped in Romance. You can visit me here, at http://thedanceofromanceonline.com

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8 Responses to “Handsome Hansel “Wakening Your Dead””

  1. I love revisiting my dead (or as I call it, hibernating) pile. Oftentimes I’ll even start a story I know I’m not going to finish just so I can capture whatever it was that inspired the idea before I forget it. Then when I’m having one of those days where it feels like I have no new tales to tell, I can go rummaging through the “unfinished” file and see what’s ready to be revived. It’s like a secret reserve of stories-in-waiting, and I’m always hoping that if I dig around in there enough, I’ll find some buried treasure.

    Posted by Lori Schafer | April 4, 2014, 8:42 am
  2. “They say you should walk away from what you’ve written and let it breathe a little before signing off on it.” I’ve done this for the past year and I’m struggling to pull them out of hibernation now. Time will tell if it’s done them any good, but at least I’m approaching the stories from a new perspective.

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | April 4, 2014, 10:00 am
  3. I’ve just recently started this. It’s both fun and painful.

    Posted by Traci Krites | April 4, 2014, 10:45 am
  4. Good for you! I actually did that same thing last year with great results.

    If nothing else, reading our old efforts demonstrates how much progress we’ve made in our craft.

    Glad to know your creatvity is roaring again.

    Posted by Tamara | April 4, 2014, 11:20 am
  5. New day, new life. I read my old stuff over, steal some for new stuff, and then let them breathe a bit, like wine. Then I get an idea and start again.

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | April 4, 2014, 3:51 pm
  6. HH,

    Cringe-worthy, definitely. Fixable. Yes. As writers we have to believe we can do better. Those old manuscripts are a barometer that measures how far we’ve come. (I hope.)

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | April 4, 2014, 4:30 pm
  7. I love this. They are not dead but need to be brought back to life! As we change over time, we will look at them in a different way because we are different.

    Posted by Sherry Marshall | April 4, 2014, 8:09 pm
  8. Evening HH…

    I love going back through old manuscripts and bits…it always inspires me to either revisit and revise or to tell me how much I’ve improved.

    Some, however, are simply dead. =) They have a non-resuscitation order and just need a decent burial.

    =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | April 4, 2014, 10:14 pm

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