Salvaging Your Abandoned Projects

Rhetorical question alert: Ever abandon a project, only to realize months–maybe years–later that there was some promise there after all?

A lot of my early books were this way.  After the first 2000 words of AFTRLYF, I decided it was far too ambitious.  And I wasn’t that good a writer anyway.  What was I thinking?  Yeah. That was me.  Then one day I was deciding on a NaNoWriMo project with my friend, and I described three projects I had in my mind.  The more I described AFTRLYF, the more I knew it was the one to write.  She confirmed that with a, “That’s awesome!  Do that one!”  And I loved it, even the overwhelming parts.

DownLoad was the same way.  I got about 200 words in before I decided it was too ambitious.  Sci-fi? Me?  What was I thinking?  Fast forward to… wait for it… NaNoWriMo, and once again I was tackling it head on (NaNo’s my time to try new things, right?).  Okay, so I doubted myself the whole way through for that one, but I finished it, and after it was done and revised and revised, I loved it.

Sometimes I just can’t seem to salvage the project I abandoned.  Boy/Girl is one I’ve revisited a couple of times.  I think it’s just too dependent on the romance and not enough on the fantasy.  I need more action!  But I can’t figure out how, so it gets abandoned again and again.  It doesn’t help that my MC is not choosing the boy he/she is supposed to.

A couple of years ago, I started writing this novel called Taylor-made.  It was based off a song (aren’t they all?) .  I made a soundtrack of image songs for my characters.  I had a basic plot.  It was light sci-fi, so I developed a dystopian setting (it was before people got tired of that).  I wrote 100 sentences about my MC.  I wrote the first chapter, and I still adore it.  It was everything that came after that was the  problem.  I was beginning this story during a mini-writing retreat.  3-5 days in my favorite little town with my favorite coffee shop.  I should have been knocking words out, but I wasn’t.  I moved slowly through my MCs meeting, and then I had nothing.  I had no clue how to proceed.  I knew some events that were to come, but I couldn’t make my characters move towards them.

I started writing Hero/Villain instead.  I fell in love with it and put TM aside, probably forever.

But, you see, the other day I happened upon that playlist and listened to it.  And thought about it.  And asked how I could change the setting (which wasn’t working anyway) and up the stakes in the plot (now that I’ve realized that I need MORE action in my plots to be able to finish them).  And I want to keep the love triangle and the basic concept (except right this second, I’m even considering changing the romance a little, lol), but I could make this novel work.  I say without writing a word.  But, no, really.  The last few days, it has been on my mind, and I don’t want to give up on my characters, which, let’s face it, is really all I’m salvaging from the original idea.  If I rework the plot and the setting, I think I could get into the story, this time for keeps.

But, you know, it might not work.  Sometimes you find out that you abandoned it for a reason.  It was a sinking ship and you didn’t have the time and energy to sink with it.  It’s not really your style.  Or you still feel it’s too ambitious.  And that’s just fine.

But if it’s on your mind, and there’s just that chance that it might be salvageable, go ahead and try.  You might save it or you might just learn something (like I did with B/G).  And it might, it just might, turn into something you love.

Lots of love,


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