Lost Treasures

I had a conversation with a friend once about how she tried to make her grandchild finish a story he wrote as a child. Doing her grandmotherly duty, she had read the stories, but surprisingly had found herself interested in the stories themselves ... then he stopped writing.

Others I've talked with were either writers who didn't finish stories or parents of writers who didn't finish stories. In both cases, they were frustrated at the lack of perseverance to finish stories. In all cases, I assured the individuals that it wasn't a problem, but actually an asset - the unfinished stories were, in fact, lost treasures waiting to be mined.

Old Journals
I've been writing stories since I was ten or twelve. I have notebooks filled with stories, and journals with snippets of scenes and characters. I've written before about the importance of keeping journals (here), One of the best reasons is simply returning to find the lost treasures. I've had old snippets that I rediscovered used in current stories, or even as inspiration for newer stories. Often times, the snippets and character work best in their world, but the stories just don't fit yet.

Case in point: I started a novel shortly after I finished college. The idea was brilliant - I loved it, but it never worked right. In fact, I shoved it to the side because it didn't work, but two years ago, I wrote another book. While that one was a great novel, and the remaining novels equally as compelling, while editing it, I realized that the story I started almost ten years ago worked well with the current novel. Who knew that the lost treasures would actually be useful.

To encourage those of you who don't finish a story, take heart, the aspect of writing is often a start and go process - it takes time to develop a story, and often we have many false starts. Don't be discouraged about the lack of finished stories, just keep writing.

To those of you waiting on the next serial or wish your child would finish a story, take heart - it's a process to develop their skills. Sometimes, the story just fades away, but it is encouraging to the writer to know you like the stories in the first place.


  1. Speaking of writers who didn't finish stories, that was me in high school. Apparently I made such a habit of it that it irked my best friend, who finally complained that I *never* finished any of the story beginnings I shared! And it was true. Unless I had an assignment to write a story, I never finished one. After graduating from college, I decided to prove my friend wrong, and I wrote a short story from start to finish. Eventually, I wrote a novel, which remains lost on a floppy disk somewhere ...

    1. I have several of those books as well. Some lost on old computers, especially. I like how your friend propelled you to finish your stories. Sometimes it's those friends we want to prove wrong that help us the most.


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