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I've been writing stories since I was eight years old, and though I don't have my earliest stories anymore, I do have a lot of things written during my teen years. These are the books that helped me develop my skills in character building and storytelling. At the time I thought that they were my greatest masterpieces and they were--at that point in time. Now, I look back at them and think, "I'm so glad Kindle Direct Publishing didn't exist when I was fourteen!"
There's a reason these books never caught the interest of an agent or editor (yes, I did query a bit even back then). There's a reason they've been hidden away in boxes for the past 15 years or so.
But as bad as I now know they are, I also can't get myself to throw them away. This is my writing history, these stories are what turned me into the writer I am today. I'd be embarrassed for anyone else to read them. But maybe there are some nuggets there that are worth holding onto. Something to Blog About used characters I had first created when I was fifteen. I still have those old stories I wrote about them, and although the published book is completely different from the early stories, I like to keep the old ones around to remember how far they came.
I'm also working on another story now that is based on a story I've written and rewritten since I was sixteen. I pulled out the old drafts of it for inspiration, but most of the story I'm writing now is all new. Characters are different, dialogue is changed, some new events happen. But the basic story idea was still good and could be rebuilt into something new.
So what about you? Are you doing any spring cleaning? If you have any old stories printed out or in files on disks still hanging around, why not take a look and see if you can find any gems to pull out of them?