Looking for the new in the old

Posted: August 18, 2011 in Writing

I was sitting down to give the blogosphere a writing tip, and realized that I needed a topic. Writing random words hardly seemed  like the right thing to do. I then decided on the post topic that you see now, but where does that lead us? What am I going for? Shouldn’t I have thought about these questions before clacking away at the keyboard?

Well, I am sure that the answer to the last question is ‘yes’, but who can resist the sound of a clacking keyboard. My 2 year old daughter finds it to be the best thing in the world, and she has yet to recreate a line from Shakespeare.

I digress.

I decided to rip through my memory banks and find a way to make this topic work. I then remembered a book I read called “Eifelheim” published in 2006. It is a very well done Historical Science Fiction novel. What makes it fit my topic is that it was basically the re-working of a novel that had received a Hugo Award nomination twenty years ago. The author, Michael Flynn, took this beauty of a novella and worked it into the novel that enthralled me from beginning to end.

My point is this: Often times, as writer’s, we are looking for what our next story should be. We do copious amounts of research, outline till our fingers bleed, make concept maps and story webs, and talk the ears off of anyone listening. But maybe, just maybe our next story should be an old story that receives the benefit of our honed and increased abilities. After all, haven’t we advanced since we last touched that short story or essay? Couldn’t we turn that ugly duckling of a play into an Off-Broadway swan of a show? Of course we can.

Again, my writing tip to you today is to look at the old to find the new. I have a story that is going to force itself to be next in line thanks to this idea. How about you?

  1. Marcia says:

    Great idea, Jason! A lot of writers have some fondness for early works that they never could get quite right. With a little experience and knowledge under a writer’s belt, new ideas can bring that dead story back to life. Looking forward to hearing about it soon.

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