Monday, October 27, 2014

Burying the Dead

Buried books. Shelved manuscripts. Filed for a Rainy Day. All are evil, undead things and should be resurrected.

When I was 14 or so, I sat down one summer to write a novel. This was when dinosaurs fled the earth, and there was no computer involved. Instead, there was a Selectric Electric Typewriter that has has long since been lost and there was a ream of paper.

I believe I managed 316 double spaced manuscript pages of what can only be called, in all kindness, fecal matter.

I mean, it was BAD. There were dimensional portals, dragons, armor made from dragon scales, griffins, evil sorceresses...if there was a trope, I found it and I used it.

Know what I forgot? Anything that vaguely resembled a plot.

I kept that manuscript for around four years, in an old box that was sealed by rubber bands. Now and then when I wanted to torture myself, I pulled that bad boy out and read a portion of it as a cautionary tale against ever trying to write anything again.

And then, when I moved into an apartment with friends for the first time I threw that manuscript into the dumpster, careful to open the box and scatter the pages much as a vampire hunter might the ashes of the departed and vanquished.

That is as close to a buried book as I have.

The rest of what I have written, with the sole expression of a novel manuscript that rose to the towering height of 40,000 words before I lost it for all time (ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR WORK, PEOPLE!!!!!) has been published. It might take me a while to finish a manuscript, but to date I've sold everything I've finished. I might have sold it for a nickel, but, damn it, I sold it.

There are a few stories out there I try to forget I wrote. They could have used, oh, so much work. But I wrote them, and I sold them.

I don't know if it's talent or mere tenacity. Whichever the case, the skeletons in my filing cabinet have all been aired or destroyed beyond all repair.

Have a little faith in yourself. If it's good, you'll sell it.

Of course, you have to finish it first....


  1. Ack! 40K words lost? Oh man, that sucks so hard. I thought I lost a scene once and spent the day near to tears. (I'd saved it to the wrong file.)

    It's awesome that you've sold everything else. Tenacity and talent are definitely what's necessary. Congratulations on having both. =o)

  2. I did a fair amount of screaming and crying hen it happened and then I decided it was a lesson learned. That one was too hard though and I've never gone back to the project. Maybe some day.