It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
The March 2017 question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
My answer: Yes to both questions. I frequently recycle old ideas that didn’t work out at the time, but this was a complete story. It was one of my first written stories. My submission database shows that I started submitting it in 2004. I kept at it for several years, but nobody accepted it for publication. After a while – I was probably improving as a writer – I realized that all the editors were right: the story didn’t work. So I dropped it. But the idea and the protagonist stayed with me.
Last year, I decided to give them another go. I completely rewrote the story, leaving maybe 10% of the original text in, probably even less. I altered the main conflict and changed the ending. And started submitting the new incarnation under a new title, Flower Consultant. It’s a humorous sci-fi story. This time, it got accepted on the second try. It was published in Aurora Wolf last summer. Here it is.
Continuing the theme of old stories: I’m running out of short stories to submit. Of the bunch of stories I wrote in 2015 and 2016, only 5 are still making submission rounds. The rest found homes in magazines or anthologies. I have 2 fantasy stories left, both written originally for specific anthologies, although neither made the cut. I also have one sci-fi story still homeless and 2 magic realism stories.
The sci-fi is a surprise. It is a solid story, and I was sure it would be one of the first to get accepted. Strangely, it was not. The magic realism is a different matter. I doubt either of them would be published by any American or Canadian magazine. They are too… alien, I suppose, for the English speaking readers. Both take place in Russia during the WWII. Both deal with uncomfortable subjects. I might cave in, stop submitting them, and publish them myself on wattpad.
That brings me to the gist of my post. I have a few more old stories on my computer. Some I started but never finished. Others are just undeveloped ideas. Perhaps I should do something productive about some of them. After all, I enjoy writing short stories and have a fairly high success rate with their magazine publication route. About 99%. I only truly ever abandoned one story, the very first one I ever wrote. I don’t think any amount of rewriting would resurrect that ugly baby, but we all fail sometimes. That’s how we learn, right?