So, ever reread stuff you wrote which didn’t work but you still like it?

Yeah. Same problem. I had about 17,000 words, and the plot wasn’t advancing right, and it was all messed up. I just reread it, and durnit, I LIKE some of the sections.  The tone, the sardonic wit, the humor… of course I like it, I wrote it.

Narcissism aside, though, I’m considering posting it. Why not? Oh, so you can say, “Matt, the plot’s got problems”? Nuh uh. I already know that. Does anyone else have mistake manuscripts that might work with a rewrite?

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19 thoughts on “So, ever reread stuff you wrote which didn’t work but you still like it?

  1. yeah, should be frustrating, but it’s oddly gratifying, right? You go back and enjoy reading it, love the dialogue and some of the things about the characters, but it’s just FUBAR. I can say I wrote a short story about 11 years ago and KNEW it didn’t work, but didn’t know why. I took the two main characters and put them in my novel, kind of late in the game and reworked the short story to fit in…thought it was a stupid idea but my editor loves it and wants more! so you never know…keep plugging away, right?

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    • Yeah. I was reading a scene where one of the marines in a drop shuttle gets airsick, and all the jokes the other marines make about it. Amusing as all out. The whole thing is flawed structure-wise beyond repair. I love the writing in some of the scenes, though. I’ll probably resurrect it for something else, where I fix the plot first.

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  2. If you’re not rewriting, you’re not doing it right. I had to rewrite almost an entire book because the first draft was so ridiculous.

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    • AM-G! I think that’s subjective. Some people do a lot of frontloading in their plotting and end up doing not so much re-writing. I’ve also seen many opinions where they were saying “Just get it down on paper, doesn’t matter if it’s correct, fix it later” and others who take a more studied approach, with constant edits along the way to produce perfect prose.

      The problem with the later is that you get a problem if you write perfect prose but the plot needs fixin’. So, grammar comes last. Plot comes first. I can see that. It doesn’t mean I like it. I’m in the other order, grammar then plot. It’s my downfall.

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  3. Yup. Quite a few. I never get rid of them. Sometimes I pull characters out of them. In fact, one I started ages ago, same as you, liked it, like the dialogue, characters, blah, blah is going to work nicely with a new series I’m screwing around with. A lot of it will get imported.

    Maybe yours just hasn’t completely percolated yet? Could happen.

    Annie

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    • Maybe. It’s clearly a plot problem, not a character problem. And I kept avoiding the combat sequences that it wanted/needed. I didn’t have a clear protagonist amongst the 24 different characters, nor was the antagonist strong enough to be a problem.

      There was enough problems with it that even if I was pleased with some of the sequences, it was still mushy.

      Like my Strongbow Gold Apple Hard Cider I’m drinkin’.

      Now, that’s got a good plot.

      I sometimes wish I could get someone else to do all the plot work so I could just write the book. “Oh, he’s so clever,” they’d all say, “his book was so well plotted.” But it wouldn’t be my plot, it’d be someone else’s. I could just use that stolen valor thing of claiming all the credit.

      Or… could I? I reckon if you retread a successful plot from somewhere else, that’s legit. There’s only 7 stories out there, anyway.

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  4. Gotta mess up your stats some more here…
    I haven’t published anything fiction-wise (yet), but a few years ago, I participated in Nanowrimo. I’ve had this idea, but never got anywhere with it, so I thought if I just force myself to write, maybe something will come out of it. I had fun, felt like I wrote the book of all books, and then, on rereading, realized what a bunch of crap it was. I need to plot ahead and I need to edit enough that what I write makes sense. In Nanowrimo I didn’t have time for any of that. That’s what I learned. But while it’s crap, I still think there are some good ideas in there, and maybe one day I’ll actually do something with it.
    There are short stories from much longer ago… I had no idea what I was doing, and on re-reading I’m somewhat surprised, did I write that? Again, I like the ideas. The writing, not so much.

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    • That’s a learning and maturing process, isn’t it? Early works are never as good as later works, except in one case of a Mascagni who wrote his first one-act opera (Cavalleria Rusticana) that was famous and the rest were all junk. So don’t be that guy. But beyond that, if you seek to improve, each successive book will be better. You get better through practice, right?

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    • Funny. I’ve got a book on my Kindle with that exact– Wait a minute. You gave me your discards?

      It’s pretty readable. I like that things never really get better. Whenever something is going right, I can count on something disastrous to happen. It’s splendid. I can also see the character arc. This is a journey story, as much physical as mental.

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