My friend and social media connector extraordinaire, Piper Bayard, held a cover reveal of her first book on her blog a couple of days ago. (http://piperbayard.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/the-nine-year-baby-firelands-cover-reveal/) If you’ll notice, the title of her post is “The Nine Year Baby.” Funny, catchy, and painfully true. This is Piper’s first book, and I’m sure it won’t be her last. Just reading her blog is enough to tell you that. But besides my delight for her, her post got me to thinking.
I’ve written a lot of books. From this one, back in 1991:
on through a couple of favorites like this duo, that still bring in mail after more than fifteen years (and more news about them upcoming soon!):
to this one, coming up in July (yes, I slipped my own little cover reveal into this one!):
But it’s not these published or soon to be published works that I got to thinking about. It’s the unpublished ones. Books that have never, and may never, as the title of this post says, see the light of day. I’m sure all writers have them. Ideas that seemed good at the time, but in the end didn’t have enough muscle to carry an entire book. The things you put away, and frequently dig out again when you realize that partial idea is the perfect partner for this other partial idea you just came up with.
Or that book of the heart, that one that calls to you so strongly you can’t stop working on it, even though it’s other stories that will be paying the bills. I have one of those I’ve been working on even longer than Piper’s nine-year baby. I’m so in love with the hero of this book I’m not sure I can bear to send him out into the world. He may never see the light of day, although a few lines made it onto Facebook in that “seven lines” meme that was going around a while back.
a few several okay, I’ll face it, a ton of bits and pieces squirreled away in a folder titled “Beginnings.” Because that’s what they are. Beginnings. Some are mere paragraphs, a scene, a setup, a fragment where I have no idea where it came from or where it’s going. Others are maybe two or three pages. Some are longer, and a couple are twenty-plus pages that came out in the white heat of “I have to write this NOW.”
I’ve often wondered what other writers do with this stuff. Is it deleted? Filed away never to be looked at again? Personally, I have a hard time deleting anything that I was moved enough to write in the first place. Not because I think my every word is golden–I wish!–but because I can’t shake the feeling that some day, somewhere down the line, that little bit of writing might save my sorry backside when I’m mired deep in deadline hell. So my process has become I save it and walk away. And my criteria after that is if I remember it after it’s in that beginnings folder, if after a while it’s still in my head, then it has a potential worth looking at. Maybe.
Is anybody else curious about things like this, would you love to peek at these bits and pieces, or is it just a writer’s weirdness that makes me wonder?