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  • A.C. Cargill

Revisiting Ghosts of Writings Past

by Guest Blogger A.C. Cargill

Over the years, even published writers who are successful at selling their books build up “ghosts of writings past” – bits and pieces that they may not have pursued. These could be story ideas that came to them while working on a main novel, scenes cut from that novel (don’t ever ever throw those bits away!), or just something jotted on a notepad when the writer woke up in the middle of the night with an idea. I have an abundance of these “ghosts” and have come to regard them as a treasure trove of inspiration. Pay yours a visit. You might find that some are worthy of rejuvenation.

Recently, I revisited my ghosts. Some were embarrassingly bad, childish ideas that came pouring out of me in a moment of pique or the snatches of a nightmare that I scribbled when waking in a sweat, and that I have now shoved to the back of the stack, possibly to revisit at some future date. Others have been given a chance at a new life, something you as a writer can put to your advantage, especially if you’re experiencing “writers block.”

That scene (or even that whole chapter) you cut from your novel during the editing process, which can be brutal, should never hit the trashcan sitting on your laptop or on the floor beside your desk. File it away. You may have a new story or a whole novel in the making. As for that short story, I have several that were basically sound but overly long. After paring them down (in one case from over 3,400 words to fewer than 500), they came out pretty good – in fact, good enough in my own eyes at least to enter into contests, one with a site that specializes in fantasy fiction and the other that wanted eerie entries for their latest e-zine issue. I have incorporated another short story as an event in one of my current manuscripts.

So, give your old “ghosts” a gander. Some may be total stinkers and horrific in the worst way, but you may find a “Casper” – a ghost that’s not only friendly, but could prove to be a real gem.

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!

A.C. Cargill has been writing for a variety of venues over the years, including software guides, website content, and promotional articles for online businesses. She is now turning her attention to fiction writing. Check out her work on her website along with more writing tips.

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