Resurrect the Oldies
Don’t allow any of your prose, dialogue, descriptions, story ideas, characters, plot twists, or special words and jargon go to waste. Pull out all the stops to make your WIP the best it can be. If you’ve written other WIPs that didn’t quite succeed, resurrect the good parts, and weave them into your current WIP.
Aspiring authors are encouraged to keep writing even when they believe their debut novel is complete. Sometimes authors have ideas for the second in their series, so they get right to it. Don’t be afraid to retrieve concepts and other good stuff from that second book and add it to the first. The idea is to cram that first book with as many exciting, effective, and worthy things as possible, if it makes sense. Repurpose what you can but don’t stuff things in for shock value or to fill space. Those types of additions can be a turn-off.
Short stories possess the potential for expansion into a cool book, so if you have one, pull it out of that desk drawer and breathe new life into it. Throw down new words and plot points to help it grow into a full-fledged novel. Do you have a short story on file with a particularly magnificent character or two? Recycle their personas and find a way to insert them in your new story.
If poetry floats your boat and there’s a journal full of them hidden in a corner of your closet, retrieve it and repurpose them. There may be some gems in there or themes you can draw from to reinvent a stale passage or plug a plot hole. Slip the poem itself, if suitable, into your story, or pop part of it in there.
Spoiler alert – if you’re a magazine picture clipper with a collection of photos and other items you’ve saved in a box or folder for later, when . . . you know, it’s time to feng shui the living room, redo the kitchen, landscape the yard, or finally throw down some Benjamin’s for those cool designer kicks. Well forget that. Now’s the time. Reclaim them. Rifle through those clippings for a new fancy setting, inspiration for a room description, a different angle to help with a character’s appearance, or maybe you’ll find the perfect flower garden to bury a body. It’s your call. Use your imagination.
Dig into those old notebooks filled with thoughts you scribbled down. Repurpose the comments you have yet to employ in your story. Fit them in where applicable.
Thumb through old photo albums, gather any pictures that catch your eye. Reminisce for a moment then use the image and the memories to spice up a humdrum scene, rewrite a chapter, or devise a clever plot twist.