Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Buried treasure

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.

And things started to click. I had exhumed the story and breathed life into it once more! It had become something altogether new: a hybrid tale born of youthful enthusiasm and adult introspection. I had found that which was lost. And when the printed copy was in my hands, I knew what I held was a precious treasure indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Stories ARE buried treasure. Whenever I go into a book store, I literally feel like I am in a room full of treasure chests that are begging to be opened. Likewise, the writer has treasure buried inside him, and he has to open it and give it out to the world. Good lord, these blogs are amazing.