A friend of mine posted on this subject recently, and a wave of nostalgia came over me. Some stories are like buried treasure, just waiting to be unearthed. You may have set it aside a long time ago. Dust has accumulated and the work is lost to time. But the tale still holds a place in your heart.
I actually rediscovered my first major work many years later. I was a teenager when I wrote it, and was immediately struck by the youthful perspective. When I found it again, I was in my early thirties, so there had been a lot of changes in my writing since then.
Some might have considered the tale as juvenile: it was a horror story about a teenage boy who comes back from the dead to exact revenge. But there was a lot of heart in it, and I was determined to bring it to light. All the particulars would be the same, but I intended to infuse it with the depth characteristic of my later work.
I decided the story would need to be rewritten from the ground up. In pursuit of this goal, I took every scene and worked on it separately. In a sense, I had deemed that each one would be treated as its own story. I developed different feels and expanded some things while trimming others.
Even the characters got an overhaul. Each needed to be distinct and have their own story to tell in the brief time they had. I made them deeper and more sympathetic than my younger self would have had patience for. But the energy was maintained.