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March 01, 2017

Reworking an Old Story


MARCH QUESTION: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I certainly have. I've shared this story before, but I'll do it again. :) When I was twelve, I started writing a book that flourished into a series. At the age of seventeen, I had reached Book 4 when writer's block hit and hit me hard. I didn't write for months. I felt a total disconnect from my characters and my plot. It took me a long time to realize why...it was because I had matured, and so did my characters, but I wanted them to be older than when they started. So, I set about rewriting the entire series from Book 1. 

For years, I slaved over these stories, and I have finished all 4 books. But I was never completely satisfied with the first book. I kept tweaking it, redoing the beginning, editing it and editing it. It wasn't until 2015 when I asked for beta readers to read the first 3 chapters and the wonderful Yolanda Renee helped me to whip the book into shape. I love it now! 

I actively sought representation last year and only received rejections, but I'm not going to give up on it. I do have to rework Book 2 to fit the changes, and I still have to revise/edit the final two books, and I will...when it's time. :)


OPTIONAL APRIL QUESTION: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Reminder: The questions are optional and meant as a prompt if you struggle with what to post. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to. :)


77 comments:

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

I love your persistence in reworking your stories and not giving up. Sounds like Yolanda was a wonderful support to you in getting to this point. Yay for beta readers :-)

Jennifer Hawes said...

It is super fun to rework old stories and plots that didn't work the first time around. It shows how resourceful we are!

Yolanda Renée said...

WOW, I wasn't expecting that! Thanks, Chrys! It was a real pleasure reading your work and I've no doubt that you'll achieve your goals!
Old ideas can always be tweaked and become new stories/books!
Every author should have such a store house!

Bish Denham said...

Wow. What a wonderful story. I wish I had some of the things I wrote when I was twelve, but the tropics ate just about everything. I hope your series sees print!

Pat Hatt said...

Have to keep on keeping on indeed. That will get the job done. Old ideas can ring true when it is their time too.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

IWSG is certainly growing leaps and bounds. I hope the Twitter Pitch Party is a success. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just keep working on it and don't give up.

emaginette said...

What happened to your festive site? I'm missing it already. :-(

Anna from elements of emaginette

nashvillecats2 said...

Keep at it Chrys persistance pays off.

Yvonne.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Keep submitting. You just haven't hit the right publisher.

Christine Rains said...

Keep on pushing forward. You can do it! And what wonderful stuff coming from the IWSG.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Chrys, I love your perseverance and your dedication to your stories. I wish I had that habit, sometimes I feel I give up too fast!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - I echo Rachna's comment ... and it's definitely keeping on - IWSG really helps ... and the A-Z is a definitely plus for anyone wanting to get their story written. Cheers Hilary

M.J. Fifield said...

I love it when beta readers and/or critique partners can help us whip a stubborn story into shape. They're so valuable to any writer.

Anonymous said...

I hope something happens with this book because I want to read it (yes, I know I know nothing about it, but =P!)

Loni Townsend said...

It is interesting how our characters mature because we do too. :)

A Beer for the Shower said...

Wow, you started at 12? That's impressive. The things I wrote back then were definitely not books. Or good. At all. I prefer to focus on all the new ideas I have now, rather than trying to salvage what I wrote in the past. I do envy those who can, though.

Roland Clarke said...

Impressed by your determination. Chrys. I'm about to do my IWSG post as very behind...hope I catch up by A to Z. Tend to use A to Z to develop ideas for the current project, rather than promotion. However, maybe I will get organised to promote current project in the Twitter Party.

Carrie-Anne said...

Almost all of my characters were written into existence when I was very young. I never saw the point of abandoning them just because I'd gotten older. Sure I don't write them the same way anymore, but that only makes them stronger and better. It's not like I thought, "Well, I'm 18/21/whatever now, time to grow up and laugh about those characters I created as a child and preteen. Adults only write about characters they created as adults."

cleemckenzie said...

How great that Yolanda was able to help you out! Congrats to you and her.

I think the TwitterPitch Party's going to be a smash hit!

Chrys Fey said...

Yolanda was a blessing. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It sure does.

Chrys Fey said...

You deserve a big thanks, Yolanda. I hope I've expressed my gratitude. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you! I hope it does, too.

Chrys Fey said...

I like that last sentence. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Me too. :)

Chrys Fey said...

What do you mean?

Chrys Fey said...

I will, I won't. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks. I will!

Chrys Fey said...

I will. I'm really looking for an agent.

Chrys Fey said...

So much great things coming. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I can't help but feel strongly for this book/series.

Chrys Fey said...

IWSG certainly helps! :)

Chrys Fey said...

More valuable than we can ever voice. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you!

Chrys Fey said...

It is. :)

Ryan Carty said...

Yes yes yes. Some stories we are not ready to write well. That doesn't mean the ideas are bad or weak.

Murees Dupè said...

Wow, on writing those 4 books. You are amazing. I hope you find the representation you are looking for for your projects. I rewrote my first book over and over too. Luckily after I got a professional editor, I could publish it in 2015.

Liz A. said...

You were writing way back then? Wow.

Chrys Fey said...

I actually want to rewrite that old series again, but this time keeping the story and changing the characters.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope you can catch up and join the pitch party!

Chrys Fey said...

I couldn't dump my characters. I loved them too much.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Lee. Yolanda's help was a gift. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! :D

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Murees! My book is pretty different, so I'm having a hard time getting someone to take a chance on it.

Chrys Fey said...

Yes, I was. :)

Blue Grumpster said...

Have I ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Yes, but then my computer crashed (no joke) and poof the new story was gone. It was about a kid meeting his idol Elvis Presley minus the bling and the fans.

Sarah Foster said...

Glad to hear you're persistent! It will pay off someday (hopefully soon!).
I'd love to take part in the Twitter Pitch but I highly doubt I'll have a polished manuscript by then. And I may have genre issues. Oh well!

Crystal Collier said...

=) That's when I completed my first book too...but that one will NEVER be revised and NEVER see the light of day. It was just for me.

Chrys Fey said...

Elvis fans would like that story.

Chrys Fey said...

We hope to do the pitch party again. So never fear. You'll have a chance when you're ready. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Mine started out to be just for me. Then I got the dream to publish it. :)

Erika Beebe said...

You were way ahead of me Chrys. I was writing as a teen, but I never finished my manuscripts. I was about half way in and then summer hit, and I got busy with work. Sigh. I might revisit it some day. A to Z challenge is too much blogging for me. I'm already dying with one a week...lol

sage said...

As my stories are often memoirs or based on memoirs, I used to think once I wrote it, that was it. But I have changed. I have read almost all of Edward Abbey's writings and learned from him that one can take the same story and rebuild it into a new story with a new emphasis.

Arlee Bird said...

A 12 year old mind really isn't all that dumb and can come up with good stories. The maturity and experience of writing can put the polish on that story. You were wise to retain that old story and re-work it. Persistence is the key to success.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Olga Godim said...

Your perseverance definitely paid off. Good luck with the other books of the series.

Juneta key said...

I wish had the stuff I wrote from about age 9 to 26, but we lost our home in a flood and all the stories with it. They all were hand written at that time.

Wishing you much success always,
Happy IWSG Belated Day!
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Unknown said...

It sounds like you had a lot of creativity as a youngster! I started writing around 14 too, so I know the feeling. Although I wasn't as prolific as you were!

To answer your questions, I don't realy use A to Z to advertize my book, but rather to get my blog out there. People will hopefully like what I post and that'll get me closer to my target audience!

diedre Knight said...

The A to Z challenge never fails to provide inspiration for stories - past and present. I never thought of using it to advertise.
Your wondrous writing journey isn't over until you say it is. You've already proven you can, so enjoy the scenery till you get there (again) ;-)

Elizabeth said...

That's awesome that you were able to take something you wrote as a teenager to rewrite. I hope you can find a home for it :) I wish I would have been more persistent with my writing when I was a teen. I only managed to write short stories or essays with about 3 pages at the most.

Lux G. said...

I agree with reworking on old stories because it grows as we grow. Change is good.

Jenny Baranick said...

Definitely don't give up on it. If you've stuck with it this long, it's a keeper.

dolorah said...

I think that is why my first novel (or novella) will always be in a keepsake box: cuz I matured out of the childish writing. Unlike some adult authors, I've never been able to recapture that teenaged mentality and and edit it into readable material. Its just been too many years from the naive writing to a time I seriously wanted to write for publication.

I don't know, maybe this first writing is around to remind me of innocence. Something I haven't been for a long long time.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I will say it again..if I ever write a book, your blog will be what inspired it :)

I wish you a wonderful weekend :)

Chrys Fey said...

I did the A to Z twice and enjoyed it but now I have no time. I'd rather take the month of April off of blogging, which is what I'm doing. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

So true. I've used parts of my life and reworked them into different stories.

Chrys Fey said...

Yes and I still have them too. Another, different rewrite might be in order for the future.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Olga!

Chrys Fey said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry. :(

Chrys Fey said...

Using the A to Z to advertise your blog is a great idea, the best way to get your blog out there and seen.

Chrys Fey said...

I've been taking a break lately, but I know my writing journey isn't over. :)

Chrys Fey said...

But those three pages helped you grow. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Change is excellent. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks! I sure believe it's a keeper. :)

Chrys Fey said...

The teenage mentality is a hard one to keep or recapture. I struggle with it, too.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you! That's a wonderful compliment. Now I'm seeking hoping you'll start writing. ;)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Congrats on finishing your book! And don't give up on representation. It'll happen...it just takes time.