It’s ‘Think About It Thursday’
What am I thinking about? The stories I haven’t finished. I have a file cabinet in my office filled with unfinished manuscripts. From the moment I completed my first story twelve years ago I jotted notes for other stories. Some stories I’d go so far as to plot (as much as a semi-pantser plots). Some I’d write scenes. In my early days I wasn’t a linear writer, so a scene could be anywhere in the story. Some stories I had scenes totaling up to 100 pages.
As the years passed, files proliferated containing first chapters with character photos clipped from ads and Goal, Motivation & Conflict for my protagonists. Every time I stalled in a work-in-progress, or a powerful idea grabbed my attention that I just had to “jot down ideas,” I filled a manila file folder and filed it away.
Stories talk to writers. Unwritten stories whisper their siren’s song to lure the writer. Unfinished stories haunt a writer. I could picture those characters, and those scenes. They came to life for me. So they lived in my hindbrain waiting for their turn to be finished. But some have been waiting as long as a decade. One in particular haunts me several times a year. Up until this year there was no market for that story, so I didn’t work on it. There may be a market now, but there are a dozen other ideas in front of that one pleading to be written.
It’s ironic. Many times when I attempt to work on one of those unfinished stories, it has lost that compelling allure for me. The fire just isn’t there. I find that strange when the story was whispering sweet nothings to me not too long before that. I’ve heard a few writers say the act of jotting down story ideas on paper or sharing them aloud with other people destroys the desire to write that story. If that is the case with me and my file folders, making me unable to write them at a future date, then why do the stories talk to me? It would make more sense if they remained silent.
If you have an opinion on this topic, I’d love to hear it. If you have file drawers of stories, I’d love to hear about them. And/or if you have unfinished stories that whisper to you like mine do, I’d love to hear about them too.