I ran across a fun blog post the other day about trunk novels–you know, those novel drafts that have been put in a dark place and mostly forgotten.
Like most writers, I have a pile of old stuff stowed away. There are four full novels buried where they will never see the light of day. Three of those four are a trilogy, and that experience convinced me that resurrecting old drafts doesn’t work for me–or at the very least is hard.
(Yes, this was back when I thought fantasy only came in muli-packs, so I powered through the whole series before revising. If I didn’t write the whole thing, how would I know whether I missed something in the first book..? or so the “reasoning” went.)
When I finally returned to the first book, I found something terrifying–it stunk. In the midst of all that writing, my skills had grown. A massive quality gulf yawned between the books. I tried to fix the poor first book, but it needed more than polish. It needed a complete rewrite.
That left me feeling tired and bored. I was ready to move. The next shiny idea waited out there, unencumbered and free of prior draft baggage. So I stuffed the trilogy in the trunk and moved forward.
Anyway, since dumping those drafts I’ve never felt an urge to go back. There may be one idea I’ll use someday, but that’s it. My trunk novels are almost certain to stay tucked away, moldering in the dark somewhere.