So what does recycling mean to you? Does it mean collecting plastic, aluminum, tin, and/or paper? Or does it mean taking your old clothes to resell or donate them? Or does it simply mean taking a product and reinventing it to make it new again?
And how on earth does recycling pertain to writing, for Pete’s sake?
Like many writers, I started writing with a twinkle in my eyes as I firmly believed that everything I wrote was gold—erm, it isn’t—which left numerous manuscripts collecting dust on my hard drive, and the burning question that left me wondering if writing romance was what I was supposed to do with my life.
And then I thought about writing: my strengths and weaknesses, my reading interests, and the types of stories that I loved to write.
So one day in May my then 7-year-old daughter and I were walking to school, she found what looked like a tiny trash bag. We made up a story about Peter the naughty fly and his messy room--considering her school was only three minutes away we did some seriously quick brainstorming. I walked home and wrote the picture book story, Peter’s Messy Room. Over the next few months, I wrote seven more Peter stories. Though I never tried to publish those stories (my daughter still hasn’t forgiven me!), it opened my mind to the possibility of writing children’s stories. This was something I had never considered before.
And then I started thinking about those four manuscripts. They tugged at my heart, because I don’t care if others disagree--every book you write is the book of your heart. And my last manuscript called, THE LEPRECHAUN CONNECTION, weighed heavily on my mind. It had generated some interest from a publisher, but they ultimately decided no thanks.
That manuscript kept bothering me, invading my thoughts at the most inopportune times. I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the fantasy elements. I loved almost everything about that story. I knew it was too fluffy for the romantic trend of dark paranormals, but I still loved it, fluff and all. But it had generated enough “no’s” over a couple of years that I knew it was dead in the water as a romance.
But what about the main character? How had she become who she was?
*snaps fingers* That was it!
I would consider The Leprechaun Connection as my world building device, and I would write the back story of the main character when she was eleven years old and first discovered the Mythicals around her.
No, I’m not simply rewriting the story, I’m making up new ones using some of the recycled ideas and character.
Not every story deserves to be published, but no story is a waste of time or effort as we learn something about ourselves as writers with each word we write.
Have you ever recycled a character, a scene, or dialogue from one of those manuscripts languishing on your hard drive?
About the Author:
Visit Margaret at her blog: M.A. Golla.
In celebration of the release of FOR WHOM THE BELL TROLLS, Book Three of the Goblin’s Apprentice series, on July 24, 2012, Book One, TO GNOME ME IS TO LOVE ME, will be a FREE download on July 20/21, and Book Two, THE FAST AND THE FAERIEOUS, will be a FREE download on July 22-23.