How to get a diamond from your novel.

11 Jan

I am so inspired today by the post at Story Fix, “Resurrect an abandoned story or start something new?” Larry Brooks brings up a wonderful question- what do you do with those old manuscripts? Do you try to breathe life back into them? It is a timely question to ask yourself. Perhaps in the reflective spirit of a New Years resolution combined with the exfoliating experience of  spring cleaning. I say we should revisit our old manuscripts.

Do it in reflection mode: let it take an air of Ebenezer Scrooge. Allow perspective of the past, present and future to bring clarity and foresight. Do it in exfoliating mode: discover forgotten passions. Either put them to rest to give spaciousness to your new passions or let the flames be reignited and run with it.

Larry Brooks draws a parallel between manuscripts and relationships.

“Old, abandoned stories are very much like ex-lovers.   There was a time when they made your heart sing and your hormones percolate.But it didn’t quite work out.  You either dumped them or they ditched you.  Either way, there’s an explanation that’s often left hanging, perhaps unaddressed and never fully understood.Only when you’ve moved on to the next level – in love and in literature – will that explanation make any sense to you.Remember that as we plow into the scary proposition of returning to our lost stories now that we have a clue what we’re doing.”

I always considered my reservoir of manuscripts a swampy graveyard. Breathing life into them created zombies. Alas, even with my morbid sense of humor I can find something to run with!
It’s like that with anything, really. Beneath all the cliche, vapid expression and rubber-stamp-run-on-sentences, lies an axiomatic truth- one that started as “just a good one” that was subject to high-pressure high-temperature conditions deep in the bellows. That diamond of a thing isn’t a new novel, or even a first sentence, but it can be dug up, it’s good, it’s rare and it’s there…. beneath all your mental terra firma.

I, for one, am taking this advice. I will let you know what I come up with. Lets hope for some diamonds.

Tell me about your novel resurrections. Feel free to comment.

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