|From one Siegel/Segel to another, good luck! (photo via imdb.com)|
I'm sure authors have been tempted. Your publisher is asking for a second novel in half the time you wrote the first one. And oh, look. Here's this completed novel that was subpar when I first wrote it, but that was before someone considered my work publishable. A little read-through and some spackle, and tada -- shiny new manuscript. Right?
Should trunked novels stay trunked?
There's a reason why a novel was trunked, and it wasn't because you had to get published first. Nobody wins by you trying to prove that everything you've ever written is worthy of getting published. I have two trunked novels. The first one is near and dear to my heart, and I gave up on it after four drafts. I always loved the writing in it, but something wasn't clicking storywise. I'll admit, though, once THE BREAK-UP ARTIST sold, I seriously considered polishing it up and sending it off to my agent. I even had a writer friend read it and give me notes -- notes that were nearly identical to the feedback I'd received years ago.
That's when I realized that this novel wasn't a failure. It was a moment in time, a point on my journey as a writer. The problems I saw in this novel I've since overcome on my next books. When I look back on my two trunked novels, I don't see failure. I see progress. I pinpointed where those books floundered and applied that moving forward. Trying to fix them up and make them publishable would diminish their value. You don't need to validate your trunked novels, your aborted attempts, your former SNI's. If you can learn and grow from those experiences, then they are all successes.
Don't go backward. Keep moving forward. If you want to have a career as a writer, you'll need to develop new ideas. If you are *seriously* attached to an old story, don't salvage the old manuscript. Use the idea and redraft from scratch. Make it your own, for the improved, wiser you.
Do you try to rework trunked novels? Have you recycled old ideas?