As promised, today is an “open letter” of sorts, continuing our summer of flashbacks. I wrote four (and published) four short stories in high school and when I started taking my writing serious in college, I looked back at those and hoped to God that no one ever saw them again. I distanced myself as much as humanly possible from that “crap” as I deemed it and moved ahead full steam… ahead.
But then something magical happened. I graduated. And I got all nostalgic. I looked at them again and realized that there really was something there. One of those short stories became the first chapter of a novel that I ended up not only writing, but completing. Another short story became the basis for a longer and less short story, which I have not yet published, but look forward to doing in the near future. And the other two became chapters in yet another novel, one of which I am very proud, and the selected few whom I have entrusted with reading the entire manuscript have heralded as two of the best chapters in the entire book.
So what am I saying? Well, it’s simple. Some times you have to write crap to get to the good stuff. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, that crap really isn’t crap at all. It’s just meant for greater things. Or, in this case, different things.
So don’t give up. And don’t get rid of anything. Keep everything. There are literally dozens and dozens of abandoned or even completed but hated stories that I wish I had kept for this reason alone. Don’t do what all writers tell you not to do after they themselves have already done it. (And don’t ever write a sentence that ridiculous if you want to make it. For realz, yo.)
See you next week!
*Author’s note: No, these four stories will not be shared in Fiction Friday, because 1) I’m still a little embarrassed that they exist in their high school teen angst-filled forms and 2) I’ve improved them and will hopefully have them be part of upcoming works, as stated above. You can read them then. But the two books? You’ll have to buy those. Sorry. Even writers have to eat some time.*