Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IWSG: What Big Teeth You Have


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I'm hunkering down with a novel idea that Just. Won't. Die.

Four years ago (yes, you read that right - four years!) I took a version of it to a conference on craft where I received tremendous feedback. I came home and re-worked it and revised it and . . . put it away. Every few months, I take it out, determined to make a go of it . . . only to put it away again. And again.

This Fall, I'm attending an advanced level of that same conference . . . with the same novel idea.

Just the thought makes me cringe with embarrassment. Where has the time gone? What have I done with it? Have I totally wasted that first amazing opportunity? Will I end up wasting this one? Should I work on something different and bring those pages?

But.

I'm not ready to let this novel go. I'm giving it these next few months and this conference to make sure it has teeth. (The story, I mean. The characters have enough teeth to . . . well, never mind.)

Wish me luck!

*****

I'm co-hosting April's IWSG, along with Megan Morgan, Christopher D. Votey, Viola Fury, Christine Rains, L. G. Keltner, Patricia Lynne, and Rachna Chhabria. Fingers crossed I do Alex and the rest of the team proud!

120 comments:

  1. Golly, I think you answered you own question, "I'm not ready to let this novel go." Perhaps, prepare for the fall conference by moving heaven and earth to put teeth into your characters. You can do it. Sit down and write. Cheers.

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    1. Thank you!

      Believe me, my characters have enough teeth - it's the story itself I'm worried about. :)

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  2. Time flies. I have an ms that's years old and I keep going back to because I like it. But I got feedback saying it needed more controversy. Sometimes we just have to write what we like and not worry so much what everyone else thinks. All people have different opinions. If you ask 3 people to read your ms, you'll get 3 different critiques. Do your own thing to the best of your ability and be happy.

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    1. The feedback I received was excellent, addressing different directions I could take the story and flesh it out. It made me really think about the story's roots and where it wanted to go.

      Love the last line of your comment - "Do your own thing to the best of your ability and be happy. " :)

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  3. It's clear that it's a story you need to write. Time is all relative, really, so don't let the years bother you. Just write ;)

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    1. It's definitely become more and more apparent that this story wants out. Hopefully, I can and will do it justice!

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  4. Best of luck! You know, that's how I was with the book that became my debut novel. It was 13 years old by the time it saw daylight and had been through over 100 revisions, 20 of which were MAJOR overhauls. Some people write several books to learn how to write. I rewrote the same one again and again and again.

    Crystal Collier

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing that, Crystal! It helps. :)

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  5. Don't feel bad! There was thirty years between the first draft and the published version of one of my stories.
    Thanks for co-hosting today.

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    1. Oh, but Alex, you are a special case with all your musicality and writing creativity and supportiveness and Ninja-ness. :)

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  6. I get grand ideas for novels but they have to wait, wait, and wait some more while other things take up my now. It drives me nuts.

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    1. Let those ideas simmer for awhile . . . until they come to a boil, until they can no longer be contained, then go for it! :)

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  7. Good luck! I've had one novel, or rather, a character, that's determined to be written and has been around for nearly ten years! I still haven't gotten her story right yet. It's wonderful to be co-hosting with you today. :)

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    1. Now that makes me feel better, Christine - thank you!

      And I'm happy to be co-hosting with you as well. :)

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  8. That sounds awesome! I say it doesn't matter how long it's been as long as you write it eventually! Especially if that excitement is there and the thought to write it keeps gnawing at you. That's when you know it's a story you just have to tell. Good luck! Keep us posted! :)

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    1. Great point about the excitement and the gnawing! I'm definitely still feeling all of that. :)

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  9. Yes, above all means take it with you to the conference. I met a woman last year who had done something similar. Well, the same man was at the conference that she had spoken with a couple of years back. He remembered her and after talking with her for about fifteen minutes, he told her to please send him the manuscript.
    All the best and thank you for co-hosting.
    Shalom,
    Patricia @EverythingMustChange

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    1. Thanks so much for that story, Pat! It's definitely encouraging. :)

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  10. Good luck! I don't think it's a bad thing at all to have this novel kicking around for years. My favorite books have been the ones that took the author years and years to work out.

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  11. I have one of those novels that just won't let go. I keep returning to it from time to time, determined to make a rewrite my next project, but it's daunting. At the same time, there must be something there, something we subconsciously recognize that won't allow us to let it die, so more power to you for sticking with it.

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    1. I hear you, Bob - it IS daunting. We'll both just have to keep at it!

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  12. I do wish you luck. That sounds pretty exciting to attend such a workshop and have something to work with.
    Susan Says

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    1. Thank you, Susan. It was a wonderful learning experience, in so many ways. I hope this next one will be just as good, if not better.

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  13. Thank you for co-hosting. If you're not ready to give up on your novel, don't. I think you have guts for going to a conference. You will do great. Enjoy the experience.

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    1. You're welcome!

      I don't know if I'd say I had/have guts - I was a big chicken before and during the whole thing. I just hid it well. At least I hope I did. :)

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  14. If you're not ready to let it go then you're meant to write it, revise it, and eventually publish it. I believe that. Every story has its time and maybe this is the time for your book. The time wasn't wasted. The time is now. :)

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  15. Ha! I'm always wondering where the time has gone. I finally manage to finish a chapter and then when I check the calendar, I see a several months have passed. Arg! And I've been working on my first story for so long, my kids are going to be off to college before I finish it.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

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    1. I hear you about the time. I wish someone would figure out where it goes and how we can get some of it back. :)

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  16. I'm wishing you every bit of luck possible. In fact, I'm crossing my fingers, toes, and nose hairs that you let this story come forth. Good luck, best of luck, break a leg, you go, girl! Thanks for co-hosting, Madeline!

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  17. That's fabulous! I'm sure this story will be amazing. And no embarrassment needed. This story was yours then and it's yours now. Best of luck working on it and with attending the conference. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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    1. Love this - "This story was yours then and it's yours now." So true!

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  18. Four years--nothin'. I'm working on a decade with one novel and a score of years with another. Actually, it's become pathological. I need to move on...

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    1. It does make me wonder - for myself and in general - where the line is between doing productive work on the ms and just not being able to let it go?

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  19. I think it's great that you're sticking with that novel idea! Some ideas just need more time to ferment in the back of your mind than others. Once it's done (whenever that may be) you will probably look back and realize that the timing was perfect, after all! Thanks again for stopping by my blog. :)

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    1. I'm a big believer in things happening when they're meant to and when we're ready for them to. Or as ready as we can be anyway. :)

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  20. Hmm, wondering why you're reluctant to give your 'baby' to the world. It must be awesome given the positive feedback you've received. You've got me curious. Maybe there's something inside you that's wanting you to push the boundaries further into the red zone?

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    1. I definitely need to push those boundaries. I applied a lot of the feedback, but I know I can still take the story to another level.

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  21. Aw, best of luck for the month ahead of writing! My lingering character is the first one I wrote about and still haven't doen her justice. One day!

    shahwharton.com

    shahwharton.com

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    1. Do we ever truly do our characters and our stories justice? Are we ever truly satisfied? :)

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  22. I DO wish you luck, and no, don't stop working on it! If it's in your blood like that, as Larry The Cable Guy would say, "Geet 'er done"!

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  23. Good luck. I'm thinking an artist knows when their creation is just right. Stick to your guns. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. I really hope I'll be able to recognize that time when it comes....

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  24. Best of luck. I have been working on 3 unfinished since 2012. You go.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. You all are making me feel a lot better regarding the amount of time that's gone by. :)

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  25. Don't feel so bad. I've been working on a YA short story series for nearly 30 years now. I keep going back to edit because I think it's never good enough.

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    1. That's the tricky part! When is it good enough? How can we know for sure? Is it ever, in our eyes?

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  26. Don't be embarrassed. You're still working on it which shows incredible amounts of determination. Plus letting it sit gives you time to really think about how you want to write it and fresh eyes when you edit. Good luck at the conference!

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    1. "You're still working on it which shows incredible amounts of determination." - I like that! :)

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  27. Fingers crossed for you that your novel and characters get some teeth and sharp ones at that. I too got stuck with one manuscript for a very long time, I was not willing to give up on it.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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  28. If it won't let you bury it, it's not dead, says I. Perhaps this time will be the charm and just the right amount of energy will spark through the neurons in your brain and trigger down through your body to your fingers and into the keyboard...

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    1. Great comment, Elizabeth! Love this - "If it won't let you bury it, it's not dead." :)

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  29. Writing takes so much out of us. It's a wonder we ever get anything done.

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  30. It's the stories that stick with the writer that will stick with the reader. Good luck!

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    1. Excellent point! I am so going to try and remember that.

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  31. I have a novel like that. It's been an on-and-off thing (mostly off) for decades. I just took it out last week and submitted a few pages to my critique group. Now it's going back into its box for who knows how long. But I want to write this book, so I figure eventually, I will.

    Best of luck to you. I have no doubt that it'll be fantastic.

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  32. Well now sweet lady, just remember: It takes time to make the best wine. Or so they say.
    Keep on keeping on!
    Great post. It had my smiling and cheering you on.
    Thx for hosting IWSG!
    Author of Wilder Mage at Spirit Called

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    1. You're welcome! And thank you for your lovely comment. :)

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  33. If it gives you any hope, the very first novel I got published was one I wrote and rewrote and chewed over for seven years, all while writing other books that are yet to see the light of day. Good luck! If it doesn't want you to give it up, then don't.

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  34. There's a reason you haven't been able to let this one go. I am about to finish revisions on my novel like that. I started it, and then took a 5 year break to work on other things. I'm so glad I finally finished it. Good luck with your conference!

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    1. And you're about to finish revisions? Awesome! Good luck with it!

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  35. Some things take more time to gestate than others. Good luck! Hopefully, this time is the time for your novel to leave the nest and fly.

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    1. Fingers crossed it will fly off into the sunset. With an agent. And a publisher. :)

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  36. Good luck with it! The one I'm currently editing has made appearances and rounds for more than seven years. Every time I get something else finished, I end up heading back to this one for another go. Have fun at the conference!

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  37. Oh Madeline! You have no idea how great your post makes me feel! I have had the same manuscript for 7 years now. Finally though, I think I have the right plot. Thank you thank you thank you :)

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  38. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. I could definitely go for some chocolate right now.... :)

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  39. I love all of your hints about your novel! :) I can't wait to sink my teeth into reading it - which will happen after you get it published in an amazing way! :)
    Maybe this time between the two conferences has made it so that your novel will hit the market at the right time and the right place.
    Happy writing, revising, and dreaming the big toothy dream. :)
    Hugs.

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    1. Thanks so much, Tyrean! Maybe this really is its time and place.... :)

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  40. Good luck!! How exciting. And I don't think you should feel bad about the years in between. Sometimes the time just isn't right. I have a feeling that now it is. Go for it!

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  41. Started but had to check something and yep...I started the novel I'm preparing to query at a BuNoWriMo (like a NaNoWriMo but in June with less fuss) June 1, 2012. That'd be nearly four years ago. And I think that was quick. I wrote it really quick. Probably 2 months but it needed the work that either comes before (plotter-not me) or after - definitely me. Didn't even have a clue on June 1st -not a note. Buck up my pal! In my world you are right on time. Plus I bet you did a few other things, no?

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    1. Ha! So it's not just me. :) And I did accomplish a few other things over the years, so I guess that's something. :)

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  42. A book I wrote four years ago is coming out Monday. Keep at it!

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  43. Nice to see you stick with it. My first novel is currently stewing in the drawer. Someday I'll get brave again and chop it up to make it a better piece. I have another idea from six months ago that I'm taking notes on, so maybe that one I can see through. Good luck and thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. I've got a number of "trunked" novels and a few of those still have a spark of something I'm not willing to let go of just yet. :)

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  44. Hi Madeline
    Don't feel bad. I started my story 34 years ago. Took a lot of time off when the children came along. Used the same ms. in a critique group for 20 years to learn how to write well and finally finished and published it with glowing reviews. That story, my epic fantasy, held my heart and I couldn't give it up. I've just finished the sequel and will soon send it to my editor before publishing. It takes a lot less time to crank out a story now.
    Nancy

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    1. That's wonderful, Nancy!

      I wouldn't call this ms the story of my heart - it's too dark and creepy for that, maybe - but it does have its talons in me. :)

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  45. There is a time for every story, no matter when it was first imagined. Ideas, like a worthy wine, need to age and ferment in the mind until they're ready to be properly poured and savored. Perhaps this is the year to pop the cork on that novel and have a publishing party!

    The AtoZ of EOS
    #TeamDamyanti

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    1. Love the idea of popping that cork! I could really use some wine right about now....

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  46. Good luck, Madeline! I'm finally working on a memoir that I've had in my mind for decades. Once I retired I began working on it, and I've got a ways to go yet. But I believe that the story needs to be told. So. I. Am. Not. Giving. Up. Hold you head high and go t that conference. Kudos for you for putting that event on your calendar. That will hopefully kickstart you!! Good luck! And thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month!

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    1. You can do it!

      The conference is definitely giving me a deadline to work toward. Otherwise, I'd probably just put the ms away again.

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  47. I have definitely asked those questions about time before. I have two book ideas that I have been brainstorming and working on from time to time for 7 or 8 years!

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  48. Good luck, Madeline. I completely understand where you're coming from. I spent far too long revising and editing my books, and revising some more. When people ask what else I have published, I'm extremely embarrassed.

    All I can say is that I'm working on it!

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    1. You have nothing to be embarrassed about! Other people might not understand how necessary all that revising and editing work truly is, but we all do. :)

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    2. True enough, but I do need to curtail it a bit. It's out of control.

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  49. Good luck. If the story won't die then it is meant to be written.

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  50. I do with you luck, Madeline. And as a word of encouragement, a novel I started writing about 2007 and rewrote 5 time is now being considered for publication. I don't have the contract yet, but it's looking good so far.

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    1. Thank you! I'm crossing my fingers for you.... :)

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  51. Good luck! And don't worry about still having that story to work on after 4 years. I know a few writers who are still plugging away at a story idea year after year. Sometimes some stories take longer than others.

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  52. Best of luck with it! It sounds like its been marinating just enough.

    Thanks for co-hosting.
    Heather M. Gardner / @hmgardner
    Co-Host, Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    The Waiting is the Hardest Part

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  53. Woot woot! I like that you didn't give up on your story. It shows that it still interests you, which means it'll probably interest others as well. Best of luck at the conference!

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    1. I think that's such a good point about if it's interesting to me, it will be - hopefully! - interesting to others.

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  54. Madeline, I think it's the other way around. The idea won't let YOU go...it's hanging on...
    Good luck with the story.
    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month!
    Writer In Transit

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  55. Good for you for not letting a good idea die. When the time is write, your book will fly!

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  56. Michelle - oh, no! It's got its talons in me! :)

    Liza - hmm, there might be some wings involved in the story.... :)

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  57. I think it is perfectly respectable to keep working on a beloved story. Embarrassing maybe if you hadn't been learning and growing, but you are coming back at it with a far greater understanding of what works and doesn't. You can do this thing.

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    1. I really am coming at it with more knowledge of the craft and of what I want the story to be like. Thanks, Hart!

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  58. Sometimes a story just won't let go. And that's ok.

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  59. Sometimes a story just clings to us and keeps whispering, "Don't forget me!" I'm curious to know where you'd go with this.

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    1. I'm going back more to my original idea. I think that got lost somehow, and if I can keep that story, that feeling, going, I think it will be much better. Fingers crossed!

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  60. So what if it's four years old? Go for it! You'll be happy you did and who knows what may come from continuing on with the story and your growth in your craft? Best wishes.

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