For the people that have been writing for a few years, is there anything like going back and re-reading something you haven’t looked at since you were say, 15 years old? I did that recently. Ouch it hurt – did I really think that was any good? Needless to say it’s still on the shelf, as a reminder to what I used to be like. The work in question was first stated when I was 12 or 13 – at secondary school. I was visiting my grandmother in London. And well – I was bored and decided to write something. I had Enwag the evil man. A sword, a girl in distress, and some magic stuff. Over the next 5 years this grew and expanded into a half sci-fi half fantasy novel. Don’t really remember how that happened.
I have a few bits like that kicking about, and there is no way anyone other than me is going to read them – I would not even subject my loving wife to them. I’m sure than everyone who’s been writing for twenty odd years has some corkers stuck away in an old writing book, on a floppy disk that nothing will read anymore (seriously – I have some 5 1/4 inch ones somewhere with a load of Word Perfect 5.1 files on them, while I’m sure that modern versions of MS Word will read the files, trying to find a 5 1/4 inch drive is the more challenging bit!)
And then there are the pages, and pages that I wrote in pencil, these are so faded now that I really can’t read some of them, but they will not be burnt/shredded/recycled. They will sit on my shelf for at least another 20 years. Then I’ll have a whole stack of paper I can use!
And this brings me to my biggest issue with my old manuscripts and notebooks – the readability of them. The same goes for notes I take at conventions. I’m currently at the 2015 Nineworlds Geekfest in London. I have with me my trusty “Idea log” that has lasted me the previous two of these. In this are copious notes on sessions, ideas, little snippets of characters and very early plot ideas. I the problem is my handwriting makes a doctors look like perfect penmanship.
As I sit there making notes I have every intention of typing them up, but I never do. Maybe this year?