How To Resurrect An Abandoned Story

By on April 23, 2017
How To Resurrect An Abandoned Story -Writer's Life.org

We all have them, you know, those half-finished stories that lie crumpled at the back of a draw, or, (more likely these days) in a folder within a folder within a folder hidden in the depths of our desktops.

While we may have abandoned these stories for a reason, they are worth hanging onto and revisiting from time to time to see if we can resurrect them.

Often at the time of giving up, we cannot see where the story is going, perhaps it has become too painful to write, or you suddenly got sidetracked, swept up by another, more pressing idea, or a life event that took over for a while.

However, taking a break and gaining some perspective can actually be exactly what we need to return to our stories full of new ideas, able to overcome obstacles and breath new life into them!

So what can we do when we return to our abandoned work to see if it still has some potential? Try these helpful tips:

Do some research.

Often we end up drying up because we simply haven’t done enough research and therefore don’t have enough to say. Whatever requires research in your story, make sure you do it and do it thoroughly. Having the confidence in your writing because you know what you are talking about can help give your story a boost. It might be your story is set in a particular era, or your main character has a job that you need to learn about - all stories require a little bit of homework, so make sure you do yours to help inspire you once more.

Inject some drama

It might be that you simply became a little deflated with your story because there wasn’t enough going on. Think about how you can turn the story on its head and make it more dramatic. You need to hook readers in and then keep them wanting to turn those pages. If nothing really happens in your story you can't expect that to happen.

Figure out ways to be unusual

It’s easy to breathe new life into your stories by tweaking things here and there. You don’t necessarily have to rewrite a character for example, instead just think of ways to make them stand out. What quirks and details could you add to them to make them more memorable and interesting? Give them a lisp or a stutter, a catchphrase, a scar, a dark secret. Pay attention to the way you describe a person's appearance, a landscape, a room. If your descriptions are a little flat think about ways to make them more arresting and attention grabbing

Kill someone off

If you weren’t sure where your story was going why not try and kill someone off and see if that inspires you to take it in a whole different direction? There is nothing like a good death to throw a spanner in the works!

Make a plan

The best way to ensure that you finish your story this time is to make a plan. If you outline chapters, plot lines and the ending you’ll feel so much more confident that you will get there, and inspired to keep on going until you do!

Resurrecting your old writing can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying, and you never know, you might have been sitting on a real gem of a story all along!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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One Comment

  1. Larry Spoo

    April 23, 2017 at 11:24 am

    This is a really helpful article for me. I started writing short stories about two years ago. Five or six I think are ready, five or six more in the works, and then a list of what I call story seeds. I am always thinking about all of my stories constantly. Making changes, adding dialogue, chapters and scenes. Sometimes when I open a story I haven’t looked at in months the fireworks go off and away we go. Thank you again.

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