1. GalwayGirl
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    GalwayGirl Member

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    To shred or not to shred?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GalwayGirl, Mar 17, 2015.

    I was thumbing through a completed piece of work last night, I started it 6 years ago, it took me two years to write the first draft and it's just been sat gather dust ever since, I like it but I don't love it, I find myself pondering the age old question. To rewrite or to the shredder? Do I just cast it off as a failure or if first I do not succeed do I try and try again?
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In this day and age, you could just keep the file on your computer and come back to it if you ever feel so inclined. There's no need to literally shred anything. I'd never literally shred anything, even what I know is crap, because even that crap is my crap. It's crap I've loved and laboured over. The world doesn't have to know it, see it, like it - I couldn't give a damn. I know it's crap. But it's mine and it's evidence of how far along I've come. Evidence of my hard work. Evidence of my own evolution as a writer. Evidence of a labour of love and months or years of enjoyment. What would it hurt to leave it sitting on a shelf or on your hard drive? Nothing. It wouldn't matter.

    But what would it hurt to shred it, delete it from this world and have nothing to come back to?

    Quite a bit. For me, anyway. Even if I pull out that crap just to laugh at it - and I have done that, even shown it to my friends in order to laugh at it and show them how crap I used to be. Even if that was the only purpose, I'd still keep it. It's hilarious to see how bad it was, but there's something also uplifting about it. About seeing your old self write what she thought was excellent. About seeing what she used to think like. Seeing evidence of a younger self whom you might have forgotten.

    So, if you want to, rewrite it. If right now you don't wanna, leave it alone and work on something else. If the time ever comes that you do wanna work on it again, the draft is right there for you to pick up. If that time never comes, well, so what? It'll be one more gem of a memory you can indulge whenever you wish, and maybe smile a little at your past naivety and celebrate how much better you are now compared to then.
     
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  3. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Save it for reference and the lols when you read it again years down the line. It might even inspire something.
     
  4. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Hang onto it, you never know when you might want it again. Things like that are great to go back and read to see how you have evolved as a writer.
     
  5. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Hang onto it - for all the reasons above and also because, no matter how good or bad it is, it's part of you, part of your heart and soul.

    I still have some of mine - exceedingly cringe-worthy, but mine non-the-less.

    It gives me a good giggle when I'm feeling down and helps me to re-focus when i'm feeling the pinchers of writer's block coming on.
     
  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Incidentally - I'm giggling right now at some of the names I used for characters in the late 80's early 90's, Oh my days!, Dean Conners, Abbey Tyler and Jack Grady, Christian Grady, Janine Coulton, Catherine and Clive ...

    Apologies to anyone using these names now but for me, they are but reminders of my youth, when I had a passion for writing and storytelling but not quite the knowledge or skill to do it properly.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Never shred or ditch anything - it's always good to look back and see your progress whether or not you do anything with the story. When I was about thirteen or fourteen I literally sat down with a garbage bag and shredded a pile of stuff. Just because I was in a mood.
    I think if more how to write books would show samples of first drafts, and first attempts at writing, the writing process would be easier. Nobody should begrudge their beginnings.
     
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  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It's how we learn and grow.
     
  9. GalwayGirl
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    GalwayGirl Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys, it's definitely helped me look at my old work in a different light.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What are your characters called now?
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Gabriel William Harland
    Alexandra Natalia Dinapoli
    William and Elizabeth Harland
    Santo and Carmelina Dinapoli
    Cara and Simon Shepherd
    Salvatore Giuseppe Dinapoli
    Dante Antonio Dinapoli
    Connie (no surname)
    Gina DiMarco
    Gregory Evans
    Nathaniel Shepherd (aka Peanut)
     

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