Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Insecure Writers


Image from domaingang.com
One of the saddest things for a writer to do is to "trunk" a novel.  After slaving over it and loving it to death, sometimes you just have to admit that you did your best and it's time to move on.

So don't think of it as "trunking" the novel.  Nope -- you're only cryogenically freezing it.  It's like a patient that's simply not curable with the technology available today.  But who knows?  In another few years there may be advancements.  You'll be a better writer with more ideas.  You'll have an agent willing to help fix what's wrong.  You'll have a publisher who loves you so much they want to publish anything you've ever written!  Yahoo!  (It could happen, right?)

So when it comes time to put one of your little darlings in a drawer, don't lose hope.  It's just going in suspended animation until the day when it can be resuscitated and saved.




The Insecure Writer's Support Group exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other.  I love the encouragement the members give, and I especially enjoy blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate.

To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group

49 comments:

Kate Larkindale said...

Always good advice! I'm just about to resurrect a trunked novel myself...

Kyra Lennon said...

Hee hee, good advice! I have loads of trunked novels, but I'm sure they will see the light of day again sometime!

Elise Fallson said...

I'm afraid if I trunked my novel, I'd end up crawling in with it.

Suze said...

Damn girl, what a fantastic encouragement.

Ravena Guron said...

My darned internet is being dodgy, so I apologise if I end up posting twice :) I have a few trunked up novels, but I think if I let them see the light of day it might end up destroying human civilisation. Yes, they were THAT bad, I don't think I'll ever have enough skills to fix them. Oh well! I can try from now though :) Great post, and I love the analogy!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Ah, yes! This is exactly the way to think about it. And I've got proof! A couple years back, I pulled two short stories out of cryogenic freezing, resuscitated them, spiffed them up, and got them published in an anthology series. So, definitely ... don't call it a trunk!

E. Arroyo said...

I like thinking that it's there waiting for me to give it some love. =)

michelle said...

A wonderful boost of positivity... a little gem of encouragement... shining through, as we navigate the long, dark, winding tunnel, following the trail of IWSG posts.

Jess said...

This is comforting to me, because I have 8 of these babies. Okay, probably only about 4 that I'd bring back from the cryo chamber, but it's comforting to know that some of them might not be gone forever...now I just have to land that pesky agent :)

Kirsten said...

I love your analogy. I do fear that my current wip will end up in the trunk, not because I don't love it, but because I lack the skills or the fortitude to fix it. The idea that I can someday return to it with new eyes and new techniques is an encouraging thought.
I guess the most important thing is to keep writing, no matter which story!

Mark Means said...

Great advice and I agree...no use totally dumping something you've spent time on when you can always go back and take ideas, add things, or (ideally) finish it :)

cleemckenzie said...

Do you have room in your freezer for some of mine? Love the idea and I'm delighted at all the shelf and disk space this is going to free up!

Heather Murphy said...

Hi Lexa, thanks for stopping by and following my blog. I have shelved my first WIP because I am stuck. I haven't touched it in a month or two. I'm hoping not to completely "Trunk it" but it might be a while before I'm able to return :(

rebeccabradleycrime.com said...

I like this post. As I'm busy polishing my first manuscript, it's a reminder that one day I may have to put it away and move on. I love it to bits, but as a first piece of work, it may not make it. Thank you for a great post.

Morgan said...

I sooooooo hope to rewrite my first novel some day... I think the story and characters deserve it!

(New follower... came by to say thanks for your kind comment and follow!) ;)

Cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia said...

Thanks for visiting my blog earlier today. A new follower here... I recently said "not if I see you first" to a MS I spent a lot of time working on. I wrote a post about it last week. I feel okay about saying good-bye because I've gotten to a point where I'm just really ready to move on.

Heather said...

These are great words of encouragement. I've often written something and by the end of it I'm just not sure what the point was. I can now put them away safe in the knowledge that one day I can turn them into something usable. New follower here.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Lexa
Love the analogy. I am currently resurrecting one of mine.
Nancy

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Exactly!
I stuck the novel I wrote over thirty years ago in a drawer. Eventually, I pulled it out and rewrote the whole thing. It became my first published book. So, you just never know...

Patricia Lynne said...

Great advice. I have a handful of stories I wrote when I was just starting out writing that I plan to attempt to rewrite now that I know more. Can I fix them? Can't say for sure, but for now they are sitting on hold.

Jennee Thompson said...

Good point! I have a bunch of finished stories that are stored in a trunk. I keep telling myself I've grown as a writer so why go down that scary path and work on something so horrible. Still, sometimes, I'm surprised at what I have!

Kari Marie White said...

I love this take on trunk novels. No work is ever wasted, it's just waiting for its time in the sun.

Medeia Sharif said...

I love this. I don't resuscitate entire novels, but I take trunk novels and reuse bits and pieces in new WIPs. The ideas and words aren't a waste.

tfwalsh said...

Love your encouragement. So easy to think that if a story doesn't sell now, it's lost forever, and no one will ever want it.... Great reminder... sounds like my hubby actually... he always tells me this:)

Kelly Hashway said...

I've completely rewritten things from years ago. Ideas are never lost, and like you said, you can revisit them down the road when you've improved your craft. That's what I did. (Oh, and did I cringe at what I once thought was good writing. LOL)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

So true!!! There's no reason for any novel we've poured blood, sweat and tears into to be dead. Love this Lexa!!!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I'm always going to back old stories. I can't help it, I hate the feeling of being unsatisfied. If I rewrite to a point I'm happy with the story - even if everyone else hates it and it never gets published - then I'm content, and THEN I can truly move on.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

My first ms is wrapped up and hiding in my basement. I came across it this summer while I was looking for something. It's like finding your favourite blanky. In my case, this one's 29 years old. I've thought of reading it and seeing if there's anything salvageable. But another part of me thinks, been there, done that. I'm torn right now, which must mean I need more time. Or more hours in a day maybe.

Great post, Lexa!

Marsha Sigman said...

This is so true! I have a few developing frost bite as we speak...

Gina said...

I actually wrote about the exact same thing. My question here is, how do you know when that time has come? I currently have two stories with five rejections each, my plan is to try a couple more times, but is it too little? Like in any poker game, knowing when to retire is the hardest thing to do...

Jimmy Fungus said...

This sounds great, but what I really need is an Insecure Humans Support Group... or whatever species I am currently a part of, support group.

Empty Nest Insider said...

This is a great idea! There's always time to thaw it out, and put a fresh spin on it! Julie

Cherie Reich said...

I love the idea about freezing the novel for now. Who knows what will happen later on? It might beg to be unthawed and worked on again.

Cathy Keaton said...

That's a really great way of looking at it! I love the idea of it not being buried for dead (trunked), but suspended until you can fix it the way it needs to be. You're right in that you never know when you'll be able to make it a really shiny manuscript one day.

mshatch said...

I love thinking of it that way! I never throw away my unfinished novels, they are either sitting in notebooks or file cabinets or folders on my desktop waiting for resurrection.

DMS said...

I just love your positive attitude! What a great way to look at things. Sometimes letting something settle for a while can make shining it up a bit even easier. :)
~Jess

SA Larsenッ said...

Love that analogy. Great advice to give and a great attitude to go along with it!

Catherine Stine said...

I have a few little darlings in a drawer. Sometimes they can be taken out and tweaked, or parts of them used for another project. Other times, not. A wise and seasoned author can determine the difference.

Sarah Negovetich said...

I love the idea of suspended animation for our past work. So many authors say that first book is trash, but that doesn't mean the premise doesn't have merit. With experience and guidance it could be a treasure. Thanks for sharing.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I have always finished what I started, but I have found that in the last few years, "Unfinished Projects" is my middle name.

Catherine Noble said...

Loving the cryogenic comparison, makes me want to go watch that Mel Gibson movie "Forever Young".

I like to think of my "to be finished" collection as part of a big story factory, waiting to be plucked from the shelf when the time is right :)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I love your take on this subject. I always have hope for my old stories. Never thought of keeping them frozen. :)

Candilynn Fite said...

Hey Lexa! What a nice way of thinking. I "trunked" a novel last year. A really long YA historical fiction w/ time travel elements. It'd be nice to one day revise it without becoming overwhelmed.

Tara Tyler said...

what an awesome sci fi way to think of it! i have mine in files. sorted but not forgotten =)

unikorna said...

I actually needed a bit of support. I've just submitted my first fantasy short story to some publishing houses and I am very nervous...I suppose there are lots of rejections to be expected. Thank you for the link to the insecure writers. Kisses.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Love how you put this, Lexa. Well said =)

AmyMak said...

This is a post I can relate to. My first novel was "the one" and 20+ rejections later, even after full requests, it has been shelved. I had to move on. It's heartbreaker. I put hours and tears into that thing. I have more perspective now and someday think bits and pieces of it will happen, probably just in a different way than it is now.

Also, thanks for reading my first page from Diane Salerni's 1st page impressions. And for commenting on my blog!

Lauren said...

Sometimes we don't have the skills to restore that favorite, but if we keep working we will!

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