1. Boriol
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    Boriol Member

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    Never Delete Your Old Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Boriol, Jul 29, 2011.

    I just came up with this reason while browsing the forums here. Someone's probably already come up with it, but I don't wanna ruin my moment:

    We can use our old stories, written when we were very young, to learn about the paradigms of young characters.

    My first few books are now purely learning material. They are flawless examples of a 12-year-old's perception of his characters' perceptions, common storylines, action, tension, etc. The best part about all of that is that I never covered anything up. Now, looking back at them, I can have insight into my insight from 5 years ago. If THAT isn't some of the best reference ever, I don't know what is.

    Conclusion: learn from your old stuff. It sounds stupidly obvious, but now that I think of it, I realize that I don't see this sort of advice offered very often. People do tell you never to trash your old work, but they always say "learn from your mistakes." Yeah, do that too, but if you're writing any form of young characters, your old writing will be perfect to reference.

    Anyone else have stuff like this? Like, what do you use in your old writing to improve your current writing?
     
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  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good point.
    Too bad I don't have any of my earliest stories anymore. Or any story written before 2006.
    I think you are right, and there is a lot to learn from them about writing from a childs perspective.
     
  3. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Deleting my old work was the best thing I ever did. It let me move on.

    There's another thing you can do: learn from other people's mistakes.
     
  4. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    Good point. I save all my old work.
     
  5. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    I like to keep all but the really awful work.
     
  6. NikkiNoodle
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    NikkiNoodle Active Member

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    I occasionally find some of my old stuff, beginnings of stories and the like, and find myself still reading three or four hand-written pages later. Then I think to myself, "Hey...that was pretty good!"
    I try to keep and recycle characters and plot devices (ect...) that ended up in the circular file on their first incarnation. Maybe someday I will come back and finish one of those romance novels I started when I was a teenager :)
     
  7. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    I'm glad you brought this up because it reminds me that I will need to save EVERYTHING of my daughter's writing for her. She, of course, hasn't yet begun to write at 2 1/2, but I've already saved some awesome circle and line drawings! ;-) She also paints with watercolors and we've been working on some phonics together. She loves Starfall online, which I highly recommend for anyone who has kids learning to read.
     
  8. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    btw--that's not a plug. I have nothing to do with the owners and operators of Starfall. Their phonics interactive ABC's are completely free, and that is all I use.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Keep it all. It is also useful if you ever have to prove a piece of writing is yours. Old drafts, even old stories that you retained a partuclarly juicy description from to use in a later work.
     
  10. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    I have one piece of old writing I will probably always cherish, because it preserves a piece of me emotionally, in a time capsule. The writing itself is okay at best, but, I feel the need to finish it, for it feels like a tribute to what was one of the worst periods of my life. I keep it more as an emotional comfort in a sense than to test my writing quality, although the latter too. Anyone else have a piece of writing like this?
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I agree with Cogito. Keep everything you can. Its an invaluable piece of evidence that you wrote a particular book, which lets face it may have taken years to write (or in my case decades).

    But I also keep old copies of my earlier works, because I may at some stage want to return to them, finish them off etc.

    Cheers.
     
  12. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I still have all the stories that I wrote when I was 5-7 about a cat named Jesafeen that solved mysteries and had to collect magic wands. :D
     
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  13. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    The hard thing is knowing to do that when you're younger. -_-

    When I was about 14, I deleted everything I'd typed up, in a fit of "I suck at writing". Fortunately, I still have everything I've ever handwritten, but there are two stories which I've lost forever. I really wish I still had them :/
     
  14. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately I don't have my very, very old work anymore as it (and other things) got lost when we emigrated to New Zealand. I can still picture them in my mind, almost exactly, down to the covers I designed. :D These things go back to the late 80s.

    I have almost everything I've written since 1994 though, and every so often I like having a bit of a look at them. Strangely they've given me inspiration for new ideas before. :)
     
  15. Radrook
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    Radrook Contributing Member

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    Some irate people, such as husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends have a nasty habit of destroying other people's writings in order to get even during arguments. Better hide your stuff if you don't want years of unpublished writing to go the way of the dinosaur.
     
  16. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    ^ lol. The more I read on the internet, the happier I am to be single.

    I have a quite a few stories from my childhood saved onto floppy disks... Now the problem is getting them out of the damned things! :p Seriously, I really don't know how to do it. I suppose I'll have to try and find an old computer one day.
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    What I did recently was take my old floppy disks to an internet cafe/ computer repair shop. They downloaded everything onto a USB stick for me.

    I'm not sure where you are, but there should still be places that have old computers for use.
     
  18. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would probably show someone the door for doing something like that...

    Back-up everything you write and keep somewhere safe.
     
  19. Seye
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    Seye Member

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    I'm against keeping old writing because inside that story are old mistakes/habits of writing which can be picked up again.

    The thing is, as a writer your wording and phrasing should have changed and once you have changed your writing style, old writing then becomes obsolete doing more harm than good.

    Of course some may argue that the idea behind the story is worth the effort, but I am unsure, as when you change one way of saying things, hone it to an edge of clarity, it travels throughout your writing, so many thing must change.

    This is one of those discussions which personal views vary. I have just my own.
     
  20. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^
    So you're talking about unpolished drafts then, right? Because once you've revised your work and it is 'good', why would you not keep it?
     
  21. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    I think I'm a little to possessive to delete my own work. Everything I have created and have written is saved. Not only on a backup driver, but the original as well. And all my notebooks are saved in a specific area. If I deleted or tried to destroy any of it, I feel like I had lost a part of my soul.
     
  22. Seye
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    Seye Member

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    As for revisions of old work and clinging on to old writing(or your own writing in general)

    For example, if I wrote something 3 years ago and have been actively trying to improve my writing, it is not only the writing which changes in that space of time, but also how I would phrase things, draw in characters and such. So for me, old writing can be used as an outline, but the writing of a newer version should start as a new version, with your new style of writing from beginning to end.

    If you hold on to your writing too close, it becomes harder to learn because you do not wish to let go.
     
  23. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That shows how everyone's different. Although I save my writing generally speaking, I don't keep many notes or papers around at all.

    I've thrown stuff here and there too, for various reasons - rubbish draft versions, poems about an ex etc.

    Now my novels I back up these days, after a near-miss...
     
  24. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Yeah, talk about crazy-ville. o_O

    I found some of the stories I wrote back in 2005. They're laughable but I love reading them. :)
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I've deleted some older writing, kept some of it.

    Never post it.
     

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