Every writer has a story (or several) they’ve put away and forgotten about. We do this for many reasons: not the right time, no idea where the story is going, just because we perceive it as ‘simply not good enough’ not matter how much effort we put into it.
I have a couple of short stories hiding away in the drawers of my mind and physically shoved into the back of my notebooks. There’s the story that hasn’t left me alone for years – a man sitting by his girlfriend’s hospital bed. Occasionally the guy will throw some really good imagery and descriptions my way but that’s about it. He doesn’t have a name but she does. He doesn’t tell me his background, how his girlfriend got into her coma. He doesn’t tell me his story. I’m desperate to know it. So I continue to jot down random sentences as and when they come in the hope I can pull my pages of notes out someday and actually create a story from them. It has been a few years now, it’ll happen any day now, I’m sure.
I’ve learnt that it isn’t a weakness to put something away and come back to it at a future date. Sometimes a story just isn’t working and a taking a time-out from is it is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and for the story. I had a university tutor who actually wholly supported my putting a particular story in a drawer. He said it was a very strong thing to do. That particular story is still in the drawer. I had this one fabulous scene and no real story surrounding it and the vague hints of a story I had were, admittedly, all a bit clichéd. And then, the other day, I realised that this scene would fit perfectly in with the project I intend to do for my PhD. I’m hoping as I do my research the story will begin to take its shape and something majorly sparkly will form from it.
I guess the main story I have hidden away in the metaphorical drawer is my NaNoWriMo novel. I say novel but it isn’t complete. Yes, I reached the 70,000 word target and successfully took part in my first NaNoWriMo but the novel got forgotten when post-NaNoWriMo life set in. As I’ve said before my project for this year is to finish it and I will. Over summer I’m going to sit in the sunshine (or, more likely, rain) and write the end of my novel.
For now I’m focusing on avoiding putting more stories in the drawer. I’m working on the new ideas that keep popping into my head – I’m actually writing them down and planning which is major progress for me! Hopefully, when the time is right, the other stories will see the light of day and be developed and completed.
Do you have any stories hidden away?