State Library of Victoria \ Inside a dog
Skip to main content

Everything Old Is New Again

Nov 07,2012
Printer-friendly versionSend by email

I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but Vanguard Prime: Goldrush isn’t the first book I’ve written. It’s just the first one I’ve had published. The first book was a Young Adult fantasy story with steampunk elements and a lot of inspiration from video games. And it was terrible.

After years of trying and failing to get it published, I finally decided it was time to try writing something else. But what? I always loved comic books and superheroes, and for the past few years they’ve been enjoying a level of mainstream popularity and acceptance that I could have only dreamed of as a kid.

 

Abiding by the old saying of ‘Write what you know’, I thought I’d try my hand at a superhero story. And if I were to do that, it’d be the perfect chance to use all the ideas I’d had when I was younger and that had long since been abandoned.

 

I went through my old journals and notebooks. I dug through the files on my hard drive, finding the start of a story where a kid was being dropped off by his parents at a military facility in order to be trained as a superhero. I found old sketches and character names and half-formed ideas.

 

It was like going to a second-hand goods store and trawling through the junk to find priceless pieces of treasure. From all these ideas I’d had as a kid, I started to form a new story, a new vision. It was exciting to take these discarded concepts and revitalize them, adding the kind of perspective I could have only brought to them after years of letting them sit on the shelf.

 

And that’s where the idea behind this post comes from. If you’re ever in a position where you’re staring at a blank page, where writer’s block has you in its steely grip, take the time to look back over your old notes, your old unfinished stories, and ask yourself if there’s anything there that you can rescue and polish up and use to forge something new.

 

In fact, I did this myself just recently for the second time. A story I wrote when I was seven has taken root again in my imagination, mutating into something that I’m keen to write down and send out into the world. With any luck, I’ll get the chance to do just that.

 

What about you? Have you brought an old story back from the dead? Is there something you wrote as a child that, now that you think about it, has a bit of spark still left in it? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

[And while I have your attention, make sure to enter Inside a Dog’s competition to win either a signed copy of Vanguard Prime: Goldrush or a copy of Oliver Phommavanh’s Thai-No-Mite! That way you can read all the ideas I rescued from the scrap heap and decide for yourself whether or not they should have stayed there!]

Nov 09,2012
You may be surprised, ambivalence. The story I reference at the end of the post is from when I was seven, so you may well have something to dig out and rework already! And I think just about every writer feels like they haven't expressed the story as awesomely as they had it in their head. That's one of the major reasons why we keep trying :-)
Nov 07,2012
I don't think I've been writing for long enough to have dead stories to bring back to life. I think. Hm... I've never really thought about it o.O I can't wait for the day I can go back, though. Sometimes I feel like I never express the story as awesomely as it is in my head, but if I come back after a long time, I'd have more words to try with, right? (:

Post new Comment

All comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. Please be patient - we're keen to know what you think and will get to your comment as fast as we can.