DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY!
I recently came across a piece of writing I did some 20 years ago. It was intended to be the prologue to a gripping crime story, describing the murder of a priest in a gloomy church one Saturday evening after confession. When I wrote it, I believed that it was dark and atmospheric, something which would draw the reader in. Re-reading it all those years later, I realised that the writing was really ‘hammy’: in fact, bloody awful. My first instinct was to bin it, but then I thought: “Hey, the story behind this crap writing is actually quite sound. Why not re-write the story in a better style?’ So the rubbish piece containing the sound idea is now filed away to be turned into a brilliant page-turner one day! Perhaps.
Another example. I recently thought of writing a fantasy piece for a competition, but inspiration wouldn’t strike. So I trawled through my files and came across a short story written for children some years ago. I realised that I could take the idea behind the story, make the protagonist an adult, and change the events etc to reflect an adult’s reaction to discovering that by slipping down a narrow alleyway to escape a potentially embarrassing confrontation, he found himself in the world of Elizabeth I.
So – DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY!