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Returning to an old project...

Hello fellow writers,
I was wondering if any of you had any advice on picking up an old project after it being shelved for quite some time? Where do I begin? Do I scrap everything and start again? I really want to see it finished, but feel overwhelmed every time I try and get back into the story line.
Thank you. Best regards, Charlotte

Asked by: Charlotte Sworn

  1. Victoria Whithear on June 3, 2020

    Depends how long it was shelved for, but if it's years, you might want to consider rewriting from a different point of view. I've found that if I return to old work my writing tends to have changed so much I can't write in the same way. Always best to rewrite if that happens using the previous work as a template.

  2. Anthony Scott Glenn on May 28, 2020

    I'm in the same boat. It's been atlas 5 years since I opened any of my in progress work, though I have lately got the desire to dive back in.

    Personally, I'd say, read it through, make note of anything that sticks out as being 'out of place' and then rework it. I wouldn't necessarily say throw it away and redo it all, but can certainly use it as a springboard - I guess it depends on how far you were through it.

    In my case, I completed the first draft, and had begun editing.

  3. Michael Lawson on May 28, 2020

    I've recently just done the same. Simply reading the work sparked my imagination of what these characters have been up to in the period they've been forgotten about on my hard drive. Read it over and over so you can see where you were originally going with the idea and get a sense of the direction again. Then edit it to where you want to go now. Good luck, looking forward to seeing the finished work.

  4. Neil McGowan on May 18, 2020

    I'd second what Lucy and Elsie have said. Print it off, read it through (aloud if possible - it's amazing how many areas to improve things you can spot like that) and mark it up by hand. Then rewrite it as a fresh document, incorporating these changes. I use this process with my initial redrafting, and it works really well for bringing out the story

  5. ELSIE BYRON on May 16, 2020

    Hiya Charlotte. I hadn't looked at my work for a couple of years due to circumstances. When I did pick it up again I printed off the first three pages and read them. As I did I noticed where I could make changes so it would read better and began to alter the storyline. I did it with a pen by hand and I think that's what made the difference. Then I re-wrote the changed story again on the computer. It worked for me and it might be worth a try. Hope this helps.


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