Wednesday, April 7, 2021

When writers play necromancer

To my mind, stories are live things: growing, maturing, twisting, warming hearts, and chilling spines. Sometimes, sadly, they die young. Sometimes they die young for a reason. And sometimes necromancer writers try to bring them back.

I did that once: there was a submission call for an anthology of short stories that should be both high fantasy and erotica. I thought, well, I used to write a whole bunch of salacious Tolkien fanfiction, so I got this, right. I promptly dug up a fic that never quite worked and started re-jiggering it. And jiggered some more. And ditched the beginning. And the ending. Changed the protag. Changed the magic system. Rewrote the whole thing so that the brand new magic system was the central pivot. Redid the ending because of some notes from the antho editor. By that point, my story was more a Frankenstein monster of fresh bits of flesh than it was a whole zombie of that dead fic. Now when I look at the thing, I can't even see traces of the original. 

I've never tried to resurrect a dead story since then, though I've wanted to many times. I think little bits -- the good bits, I hope! -- sneak into current projects, and of course no writing is ever wasted because it is all good practice. Fail fast, as they say in corporatelandia.

But yeah, I'm not the person you want to talk to when you're thinking about re-imagining that book you gave up on years ago, 'cause I kind of failed at that.

1 comment:

  1. Tolkien fanfic, cool, trying to rework it into some erotica, I could see that, lol. But yes some stories should stay dead