What do you do with three pages worth of garbage? This is a question every writer asks themselves. After all, your writing has your sweat and soul poured into it. You just don’t want to toss out a great idea, no matter how badly you’ve expressed it. So, if you’re not going to junk it and you can’t publish it, what do you do?
I have no idea. I only know what I do. I have on this computer many unfinished story ideas and partial executions. I keep them to use as a source of new story ideas when my writing is better. For example, I have a young teen story about a girl who is given a special present for her tenth birthday. Some of it hits the sweet spot, other parts are clunky and unreadable. And frankly, if I can’t stand to read it, you sure as hell don’t want to! There is enough there to modify and write a nice tween book, with a little vicious editing.
But not every story is salvageable. Sometimes it’s not the writing but the theme which is dead wrong. No matter how well you write, a poor idea is still a poor idea. I have the beginnings of a story about a boy who loves dinosaurs. Nice concept, easy to write, but it has a fatal flaw. I have no idea what I want the story to be about. The theme is the meaning of the story. All stories have a theme to some extent. It was the single hardest concept I ever learned in English class. Plot, no problem. Setting, easy. Character, a breeze. Theme, what is that? It took me years to finally grasp the meaning of theme, but in High School? Not a clue!
So what comes first? Depends on the writer and it depends on the story. Harry Potter is a fascinating character. You could build a whole series from the character. A philosophers stone is a great plot device, as is magic. Many a story has been written to take advantage of a McGuffin (look it up). Hogwarts is an incredible setting and could stand as an inspiration all by itself. But what drives us to read the Harry Potter series? The basic conflict between good and evil. Harry representing love and friendship and Voldermort, the personification of hate and racism. The theme to the series remains the same. Everything else changes in one way or another. Such is the power of theme.
Now, more news. My scars hurt, but I’m healing. I’m keeping way far away from any potential sources of Covid 19. You’d think that would give me more time to write, but the stress of the pandemic has had the opposite effect. I have to push myself even harder to get a bare minimum of output, including the god awful pages which inspired this weeks blog. Stay indoors and stay safe!
The Great War in the American Southwest is in publication. You can get it on Amazon. It is a novelette, but it is also a good read. I priced it cheaper than the novels. It is the third book of the Twenty Minutes Away series. Alice will be the second book and is novel length. You can read them out of sequence. I’ve written helpful forwards so you don’t get lost!
Finally, thank you to everyone who purchased Twenty Minutes Away. It is my best selling novel. Alice will not let you down once it is released!
At last, good news from Kaiser! They got all the cancer and I do not need chemo or radiation. Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers!
Today I published my first three novels: The Second Kingdom, Runner, and Twenty Minutes Away. I gave up on getting an agent at this time. Each one has their little group of authors and seem to be petrified to take on anyone new. As you can imagine, this is incredibly frustrating for newer authors. Regardless, you can get them on Amazon as either Kindle or paperback.
The sequel to Twenty Minutes Away, working title Alice, is nearing its violent conclusion and a decision about its publication title. A second sequel, The Great War in the American Southwest, is completely written and is just awaiting my final editing. Both should be available for publication sometime in April.
Many of my short stories are out at the magazines being reviewed. I may collect them and publish them in a single volume. I look forward to hearing your feedback.