I hate having to throw a story away

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It is inevitable.

When we write, when the muse takes us down a road or path and we eagerly skip along because it’s new and fun and different and because we want to write, we don’t always know what we’re going to get.  Sometimes, it’s a masterpiece in the rough, something that only needs a little bit of tender loving care and polish to bring out the beauty, make it shine.  But there’s also the other outcome.  The less pleasant variant.  The one where we go down this path and when all is said and done, it just sucks so bad.

At that point, when we realize what we’ve done, there’s sort of a pause.  We stare at the completed work and we wonder, ‘Is it really this bad or am I just being too critical? Is there anything I can do to fix it, make it better / is it salvageable?’  More often than we’d like to admit it, the answer to that last bit is, ‘no’, and that’s sad.  We’ve expended so much energy, so much passion and love on this particular piece of writing, and all of it comes to this?  A piece of crap?  Something unworthy of further consideration let alone publishing?

I never actually throw anything away.

I’m pretty sure that every author has a pile of works unfortunately labeled as ‘crap’ somewhere in their workspace.  It could be an actual hard copy sitting in a filing cabinet, or a soft copy existing merely as 1’s and 0’s on a computer harddrive or back up disc somewhere.  The point is, they have that pile, and they, like me, probably look back through it now and again and wonder what could’ve been.

Sometimes, new inspiration hits and something once deemed ‘utter crap’ becomes ‘possibly salvageable’ and then even, ‘better than I thought and with a little work…’  Occasionally, something might even be rescued from the refuse bin of our literary misjudgments and find their way back into the active project list.  It doesn’t happen often, at least, not for me, but it has been known to happen.

Still, it’s frustrating to work on something and then realize that it is not what you thought it would be, or that it just sucks.  I have that issue right now with 2 flash fiction pieces I had been working on.  I kept tweaking and tweaking and tweaking and they weren’t getting any better, so I’ve decided that it’s time to chuck them in the bin, as it were.  Let them exist as 1’s and 0’s on my external drive, away from prying eyes and thoughts of redemption.

At least until I decide to look through the bin again…

~P