Fiction,  Thoughts

a faithful companion

To trunk or not to trunk, that is the question.

Today I revisited a story I had decided to trunk a couple of months ago. Its last rejection, one of many, had discouraged me greatly. Yet, when I re-read the story I remembered what fired me about it, and I decided the material was worth another pass. I kept in mind the feedback I had received while I shaved off superfluous text, and worked on the ending. The result was pleasing (to me), so it’s out flouncing its skirts at a new market.

This story and I have a long history together. It was the first one I wrote when I remembered my ambition to write. It has been through many, many drafts. I have learned more from this piece than any other I’ve written, just in terms of development and craft.

Yet, it may never sell, as that is the nature of things. It’s a pity, because of everything I’ve written I want this story in print the most.

Today’s re-writing session allowed me to notice that this story still has potential. I’m particularly happy how I re-shaped the ending. It possesses a symmetry now that I can see was missing. At this point I’ve polished it to its finest. Of course, I thought that in the past… Now, I realise that all the different versions were works in progress. They reflected where I was as a writer at each stage. No story has been with me as long, which is why this one is my lodestone: it points to where I am as a writer, and suggests what I could become.

I’m satisfied my writing has progressed over the past year. I can see it in my work. I have a long way to go yet, but I’m past the plains and at the bottom of the mountain. The hardest effort is yet to come, but it will be the most satisfying (and frustrating, I’m sure).

Maybe this story will travel with me a bit longer, to guide and mark my way.

But, I’d love it to find a home.

It deserves it after all its help.

3 Comments

  • gordsellar

    I totally relate. It might not sell, but you can always put it into a collection at some point, right? :)Anyway, what’s cool is you see how the work done on that story also shows through on other stuff. Do you keep archives of the various stages of draft of a story? I do, but it takes some coordination… folders for old drafts, sometimes zipped to prevent archiving problems when the nested folders create file addresses too long to access in my DVD-burning software. Still, I think it’s worth it to keep the old drafts, for posterity. Some poor fool may actually want to read them someday. Hell, I might even be that poor fool.Anyway, keep sending her out. That’s the thing to do, as you reminded me. 🙂

    • Maura

      Oh yes, I keep old versions! I have every major re-draft of every story I’ve written. I’m a big fan of “Save As”. :)I do it for a good reason, not just for a sense of history. Often the first thing I do in a re-draft is cut out material. I always like to have the older, longer version in case there’s material that I want to put back in. Doesn’t happen too often, but it does happen.Heh. Write, submit, write, submit. You gotta keep up the momentum.

  • Jeanne

    I think you could write a pretty good EA Poe-esque (perhaps Oscar Wild-esque) story about the story that never sells, changing as the writer changes, sold on the eve of his/her demise…..

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